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Full text of "Affective correlates of a good mentoring relationship"

THE AFFECTIVE CORRELATES OF 
A GOOD MENTORING RELATIONSHIP 



By 
MARK FRANKLIN BRECHTEL 



A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL 

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT 

OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF 

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY 

UNWERSITY OF FLORIDA 

2003 



This dissertation is dedicated to Hallie Ward. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 
I would like to express my appreciation to the people in my life that are most 
responsible for the good things that I am and do (and none of the not-so-good). First, my 
mother, who (with a little help) started it all and is thus responsible for it all. Second, my 
wife, Brenda, who has carried far more than her fair share in the past dozen years and 
who would like to stop now, please. Third, my three daughters (in order of how much 
work they did on this particular project), Christen, Christy, and Lisa — they are the reason 
much of anything is worthwhile. 



in 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii 

ABSTRACT vi 

CHAPTER 

1 INTRODUCTION 1 

Defining Mentoring 5 

Brief History of Mentoring 6 

Importance of Mentoring 8 

Present Study 10 

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE 11 

Construction of the Mentoring Relationship 14 

Functions of the Mentoring Relationship 20 

Career and Psychosocial Functions 21 

Additional Functions 24 

Phases of the Mentoring Relationship 25 

Phillips' Five-Phase Model 27 

Missirian's Three-Phase Model 28 

Kram's Four-Phase Model 29 

Empirical Validity of the Phase Models 30 

Outcomes of the Mentoring Relationship 33 

Correlation of Functions to Outcomes 34 

Self-Efficacy, Productivity, and Success in Graduate School 36 

Job Satisfaction, Promotion, and Income 37 

Impact of Protege Characteristics 39 

Obstacles to the Mentoring Relationship 41 

Negative Behaviors 42 

Structural, Department Specific, and Relational Obstacles 42 

Risks to Mentors 44 

Other Factors That Affect the Mentoring Relationship 45 

Gender Factors 45 

Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, and Other Cultural Factors 50 

Ethical Concerns in the Mentoring Relationship 52 

Introduction to the Method 55 

Value of Qualitative Research 55 

Grounded Theory Methodology 58 

iv 



3 METHOD 65 

Participants 65 

The Researcher 66 

Procedure 69 

Data Acquisition 69 

Data Analysis 71 

4 RESULTS 76 

Feeling Respected 78 

Respect of Persons 79 

Respect of a Person's Right of Self-Determination 81 

Feeling Valued by or Important to the Mentor 83 

Availability 84 

Time and Effort 86 

Feeling Safe 88 

Not Experiencing Rejection 89 

Receiving Affirmation and Encouragement 92 

Trust 93 

Feelings of Belonging and Community 95 

Feelings of Increasing Competence 100 

Clarifying Expectations 101 

Following an Appropriate Developmental Course 102 

Increasing Autonomy 103 

5 DISCUSSION 105 

APPENDIXES 

A INFORMED CONSENT 118 

B MENTOR INTERVIEW SAMPLE 121 

C SATISFIED PROTEGE (SP3) INTERVIEW SAMPLE 133 

D DISSATISFIED PROTEGE (DPI) INTERVIEW SAMPLE 145 

E EXAMPLE OF OPEN CODING 157 

REFERENCES 164 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 172 



Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School 

of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the 

Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy 

THE AFFECTIVE CORRELATES OF A GOOD MENTORING RELATIONSHIP 

By 

Mark Franklin Brechtel 

August, 2003 

Chair: Franz R. Epting, Ph.D. 

Major Department: Department of Psychology 

This project investigated the affective components that help define a good 
mentoring relationship. This project was exploratory, not confirmatory; thus, no 
hypotheses were constructed. While previous research has focused on various 
components of mentoring, such as functions, phases, establishment, and structures, these 
factors were not evaluated, as the focus of the project was on the quality of the 
relationship. Results of this project, however, are consistent with existing research into 
these areas. 

Fourteen participants were interviewed (four award-winning mentors, five 
satisfied proteges, and four dissatisfied proteges) regarding their experiences as mentors 
and proteges. Participants were asked to provide their thoughts and perceptions about 
what things were important in a good mentoring relationship and what might be missing 
in a bad relationship. Results were analyzed using grounded theory methodology, which 
is a qualitative method of research and analysis. Analyses indicated that positive affect 



VI 



was the central factor that differentiated good mentoring relationships from bad 
mentoring relationships. Positive affect, as a core category, subsumed five second-level 
categories: (a) feeling respected, (b) feelings of being valued, (c) feeling safe, (d) feelings 
of belonging, and (e) feelings of making progress. Each of these categories subsumed a 
number of other themes. Results across all participants were remarkably consistent, 
lending support to the importance of the interpersonal quality of the mentor-protege 
relationship. 



vn 



CHAPTER 1 
INTRODUCTION 

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants. 

(Newton, 1676) 

This sentiment, in varying forms and words, has historically been proffered by 
many when asked to account for their successes in work or in life. Indeed, it is asserted 
that Sir Isaac Newton, who wrote these words in a letter to his colleague Robert Hooke, 
was himself paraphrasing an idea expressed by Bernard of Chartes in the year 1 130 
(Herbert, 2003). The insight that we are able to accomplish as much as we do only 
because we build upon the works of those who have gone before us is both perceptive 
and judicious, rendering due credit to those upon whose labors we build our own edifices. 
It is a humbling insight. No matter our view of our own talents and efforts, we are not 
alone basking in the spotlight of our accomplishments. We are not solely to credit for our 
discoveries and constructions. Further, we have had an advantage that our precursors did 
not have: We have access to their work, their wisdom, the edifices that they built upon 
the shoulders of those who went before — and, in some cases, we have access to them. 

This last element — that we often have the advantage of the presence of the 
persons who have gone before — provides the direction for this research. The purpose of 
this dissertation is to explore the relationship between mentors and their proteges and to 
ask what factors are important for the relationship to be characterized as good . 

The presence of these persons allows us to learn from them directly: to see them 
working in the lab, to watch them negotiate a contract with a client in the office, to hear 

1 



them present their findings first hand at conferences, and to talk to them about our ideas 
and our goals. More importantly, their presence may also allow us to develop personal 
relationships with them. Whether in business, a profession, or in academia, the 
opportunity to enter into a personal relationship with someone who is more advanced, 
more knowledgeable, more expert, or of higher status and power can be a boon to the 
personal and professional development of the novice. 

The significance of these relationships has been heard in the words of many: the 
businessman who spoke with enthusiasm about the female senior executive who showed 
him the ropes (Hogan, as cited in Murray, 1991), the Nobel prize winner who described 
the sponsor who saw the potential in him that he never saw in himself (Zuckerman, 
1977), the spiritual teacher who eloquently expressed his love for the elder who guided 
him through crises of faith (Lewis, 1955), the child who eulogized a parent's importance 
to his peace and place in the world, and the artist who waxed poetic about the one who 
saw and believed in the talent and passion that others discounted (McMullen, as cited in 
Murray, 1991). These few examples are noted among an imagined infinitude of people 
who have recognized the critical contributions of some significant figure to their 
development, to their success, and to their lives. 

The recognition of the value of these significant figures, however, is definitional 
of graduate education (Kelly & Schweitzer, 1999). Where else are the shoulders of those 
who have gone before so intentionally made available for those who would follow? 
Where more than in the graduate academy is the mentoring and advising of students and 
proteges more central to the success of the endeavor? Although the goal of all education 



3 
is the transmission of knowledge, graduate education uniquely assigns the task of 
preparing the next generation of scholars and researchers to those who themselves 
developed and use the knowledge. "Generations of experienced scholars have known and 
acted upon the knowledge that the intellectual development of their graduate students is 
most effectively guided in one-to-one relationships" (Boyer Commission, 1998, p. I). The 
intellectual, professional, social, and political development of individual graduate 
students is the raison d'etre of the graduate mentor — the sine qua non of a doctoral 
education. 

Or is it? According to many sources (e.g., Bowen & Rudenstine, 1992; Lovitts, 
2001; Tinto, 1987), the number of students who drop out of doctoral programs in the 
United States has held steady at approximately 50% since the 1960s. Further, while the 
specific attrition rates for women and minorities are not known, Lovitts reported it to be 
considerably higher (see also National Science Foundation, 1997). It is also interesting to 
note that "in many doctoral programs, roughly half of the students are mentored; in 
others, the rate is much lower" (Johnson and Huwe, 2003, p. 4). Perhaps the development 
of graduate students is not the central concern of graduate schools. Perhaps experienced 
scholars have not known — or not acted upon the knowledge — that students' development 
is best facilitated in one-on-one relationships. 

A variety of reasons may be called up to explain these alarming statistics, and 
researchers have not been unaware of the problem (Bean & Eaton, 2000; Bowen & 
Rudenstine, 1992; Braxton, 2000; Tinto, 1987, 2000). Some researchers have focused on 
the contribution of the individual student's personality and other characteristics to 



retention. For example, Tinto (1987) discussed the relations between personal 

dispositions such as intention and commitment and retention, Bean and Eaton (2000) 

presented a model that focuses on the interactions between characteristics of the students 

and the institutional environment in which they must function after arrival, and Green and 

Bauer (1995) found that certain characteristics of students at entry predicted a significant 

portion of the variance in outcomes. 

Other researchers have explored what happens to students after they arrive. 

Lovitts (2001) explored a number of reasons why graduate students do not complete their 

programs and concluded that "it is not the background characteristics students bring to 

the university that affects their persistence outcomes; it is what happens to them after 

they arrive" (p. 2). Lovitts reported that a key factor in a students' success is their 

satisfaction with their advisors/mentors, which predicted not only completion of the 

doctorate, but also a wide range of other variables. Her discussion of the relative impact 

of the student's advisor is of particular interest here. In summarizing, she wrote, 

In particular, the students felt that their experiences would have been better if they 
had had more interaction with faculty and/or their advisor and if the faculty or 
their advisor had been more open, more supporting; given them a little more 
personal attention; been more sensitive to their interests and career goals; and 
provided them with appropriate professional socialization experiences, (p. 184) 

Clearly, factors related to student success, satisfaction, and retention need further 

explication. Nevertheless, and in spite of the distressing losses of doctoral students, 

numerous researchers, theorists, and administrators have explicitly recognized the 

importance of mentoring in graduate education. The Strategic Planning Committee of a 

top- 10 southeastern university concluded, "no function in the university should receive 



more careful attention and support than the processes by which potential graduate 
students are recruited, admitted, mentored, and placed" (University of Florida, 1997a, p. 
21). Cameron and Blackburn (1981) discussed the positive correlations between 
professional productivity and mentoring (broadly defined). The Council of Graduate 
Schools (1990) specifically mentioned mentoring when noting that a university has an 
obligation to provide support services to make academic progress possible. Commenting 
on mentoring in the context of adult male development, Levinson (1978) added, "Given 
the value that mentoring has for the mentor, the recipient, and society at large, it is tragic 
that so little of it actually occurs" (p. 254). 

Defining Mentoring 

Although mentoring is a term that is frequently and widely used, it remains 
resistant to clear, concise definition (Gibb, 1999). Many researchers and authors have 
defined the term in the context of their work, providing additional descriptors and 
examples that serve to reveal the insufficiency of the operationalization due to the 
complexity and nuances of the relationship. For example, Johnson (2002) explicitly noted 
that authors have had difficulty clarifying what is meant by mentoring, and then provided 
three paragraphs describing his conceptions and use of the term. The present author is, of 
course, not exempt from this difficulty. 

A significant factor in defining the term is that mentoring is not a simple 
construct. It is not a single role, a single task, nor a single concept. Rather, the mentoring 
construct describes a juxtaposition of numerous roles, activities, purposes, and meanings. 
The uniqueness and power of mentoring could not, in any case, be encompassed by a 



bare description of functions and outcomes. As the present study is intended to 
demonstrate, fulfilled functions and positive outcomes do not define the essence of 
mentoring. Indeed, positive outcomes can be acquired without a mentor. Mentoring is 
something more — something qualitative, phenomenal, subjective — and as such resists 
attempts to define it in any categorical way. 

Brief History of Mentoring 

The term mentor has its origins in Greek mythology. In Homer's Odyssey, 
Mentor was a close friend and wise counselor of Odysseus. Odysseus, who became a 
hero after his victory at Troy, was unable to return home after the battle, as he was 
hindered by the goddess, Calypso, who wanted to marry him. Eventually, the other gods 
took pity on him and sent him homeward. However, Poseidon (whom Odysseus had 
offended by blinding his son, Cyclopes Polyphemus) again hindered his progress and 
prevented him from reaching home. 

Wisely, before Odysseus had left his home in Ithaca for the battle, he placed 
Mentor (his friend and advisor) in charge of his estate, his servants, and his young son, 
Telemakhos. When Telemakhos was older, he thought about his missing father. At the 
prompting of the goddess Athena, Telemakhos decided to seek out his father and bring 
him home again. Athena would often appear to Telemakhos in the guise of Mentor, his 
guardian and surrogate father, to provide advice, guidance, support, and encouragement. 
Athena also appeared to Odysseus and Telemakhos in various other guises. In each case 
Athena/Mentor, using her superior (divine) knowledge and power, was able to assist them 



in their travels and travails because she saw their needs and intervened with the powers 
(i.e., the other gods) on their behalf. 

Odysseus, in appointing Mentor, was (in part) conforming to a customary practice 
in ancient Greece, which was to find an older and wiser teacher to be a role model for 
young men so that they could learn from and emulate their families' cultural values and 
customs (e.g., Plato and Socrates, Alexander the Great and Aristotle; Murray, 1991). In 
that both Mentor himself and Athena in the guise of Mentor exemplified the 
characteristics of advisor, guide, counselor, intervener, and teacher, these older and wiser 
role models became known as "mentors," and the term mentor became associated with 
that role. 

These same ideas regarding the transmission of knowledge and customs can also 
be seen in the development of guilds during the Middle Ages. The various professions 
(e.g., goldsmith, lawyer, merchant) developed an apprenticeship model in which young 
boys were apprenticed to a master (i.e., someone recognized as expert in the given trade). 
The boys spent years with their masters, learning their trades and eventually becoming 
masters themselves by producing a masterpiece . 

The master-apprenticeship model was largely replaced by an employer/employee 

model, but informal mentoring continued to play a central role in history. For example, 

McMullen (as cited by Murray, 1991) quoted artist Mary Cassatt when she learned of 

Edgar Degas' s interest in becoming her personal mentor: 

I accepted with joy. Now I could work with absolute independence without 
considering the opinion of a jury. I had already recognized who were my true 
masters. I admired Manet, Courbet, and Degas. I took leave of conventional art. I 
began to live. (p. 8) 



8 
The effects of having a mentor whom the protege admires and respects are evident and 
continue to be play a central role in the value of mentoring (e.g., Kram, 1985; Levinson, 
1978; Lovitts, 2001; O'Neil & Wrightsman, 2001). 

In the last few decades, mentoring has received increasing attention in both 
business and academia (Hollingsworth & Fassinger, 2002; Murray, 1991; Sands, Parson, 
& Duane, 1991). Theories have been constructed, models have been developed, and 
research has been conducted. The potential value to the protege, the mentor, the 
institution or business, and society in general has driven an increased focus on how to 
establish mentoring programs, structure mentoring relationships, and garner the hoped- 
for benefits. Yet, a significant obstacle persists in the lack of a clear definition of 
mentoring. Abstract knowledge of the concept remains insufficient for the task, as does 
the bare description of functions and tasks. 

Importance of Mentoring 

At a purely practical level, teachers and mentors have always served an 
acknowledged function as imparters of knowledge and exemplars of the professional role. 
Knowledge, however, has been expanding at an accelerated rate in recent decades. The 
increasing breadth and sheer quantity of information drives escalating demands to 
specialize, and the rising number of highly trained and educated people creates growing 
competition for limited business and academic positions. Technology is also more diverse 
and complex, and the skills necessary to master it are correspondingly more intricate or 
even esoteric. Consequently, the transmission of vital knowledge and skills required for 
business or academic survival must be both efficient and effective. This does not imply 



that mentoring is a new concept or that the efficient transmission of knowledge and 

expertise is a 21st century imperative. Nevertheless, the levels of current demands have 

grown such that, without the direct involvement of mentors, the task of survival — much 

less success — may be nearly insurmountable. 

As previously noted, however, the subjective experiences of the people in a 

mentoring relationship are central, not only to the perceived quality of the relationship, 

but also to the success of the relationship tasks (Bair, 1999; Lovitts, 2001). In addition to 

noting the importance of mentoring in a professional context, Levinson (1978) discussed 

the importance of a mentor to the psychological and emotional development of young 

men. He stated, 

A good mentor is an admixture of a good father and a good friend. ... A "good 
enough" mentor is a transitional figure who invites and welcomes a young man 
into the adult world. He serves as a guide, teacher, and sponsor. He represents 
skill, knowledge, virtue, accomplishment — the superior qualities a young man 
hopes someday to acquire. He gives his blessing to the novice and his Dream. 
And yet, with all this superiority, he conveys the promise that in time they will be 
peers. The protege has the hope that soon he will be able to join or even surpass 
his mentor in the work that they both value, (pp. 333-334) 

Although transmission of knowledge and technical expertise, dissemination of 

cultural sophistication, enlarged networks, and other concrete benefits accrue to those 

who are mentored, they are not perhaps the most important benefits. Neither are measures 

of these benefits likely to capture the essence of the mentoring relationship. The present 

study, therefore, does not focus directly on the practical aspects of mentoring, but rather 

indirectly on the developmental, subjective, and phenomenological experiences of 

mentors and proteges. 



10 

Present Study 

The present study focuses on the subjective experience of participants in 
mentoring relationships in order to develop an understanding of what qualitative factors 
contribute to the characterization of a mentoring relationship as good . What does it mean 
to each person in the dyad that mentoring "works"? Is essence, what elements comprise a 
good mentoring relationship? As in a marriage, something occurs in a positive mentoring 
relationship that is qualitatively different from a negative or less successful one. These 
features are of primary interest in the present study and provide reasons for why 
psychology may be uniquely suited to explore them. 

This study is further undertaken in the "context of discovery," not in the "context 
of verification" (Giorgi, 1990, 1992). Although the subjective perceptions and 
experiences of the protege have been noted as a predictor of positive outcomes (e.g., 
Lovitts, 2001), little direct research has been done to date on this aspect of the 
relationship. Given the data indicating the relatively high attrition rates in doctoral 
education, the importance of mentoring to positive outcomes in doctoral education, and 
the relatively high rate of dissatisfaction among graduate students in regard to the 
mentoring they received, additional research on the subjective in the mentoring 
relationship is essential. 



CHAPTER 2 
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 



This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical and empirical literature on 
mentoring. As previously noted, the topic of mentoring has garnered increasing attention 
during the last few decades. In a brief search of this body of literature, Fogg (2002) found 
a significant increase in the number of articles written about mentoring, ranging from 4 
papers written from 1960 to 1964 to 721 articles written from 1995 to 1999. Similar 
results were obtained by this author in a search of the Educational Resources Information 
Center (ERIC) database. Focusing on mentor in a keyword search of the literature 
returned only one article published between 1960 and 1965. A subsequent search 
returned 893 references published between 1996 and 2002. 

Other resources also reveal increased interest in the topic of mentors. An internet 
search using mentoring (instead of mentor in order to eliminate cities and other unrelated 
references) yielded 1,520,000 hits (Google, 2003). A random search of university 
websites revealed that mentoring is also a significant interest of educational 
administrators. Murray (1991) commented that some reference to mentoring could be 
found in "almost every publication aimed at managers, administrators, educators, human 
resource professionals. . ." (p. xiii), and Clutterbuck (as cited in Brophy & Epting, 1996) 
asserted that up to one-third of major companies in Britain have experimented with 
formal mentoring schemes. Other such examples abound. 



11 



12 
This surfeit of material, however, belies the relative tenuousness of the findings in 
many areas of the mentoring literature (Gelso & Schlosser, 2001; Gibb, 1999; Jacobi, 
1991). Although many researchers have invested significant effort into exploring the 
relationship, their findings tend to be fragmented, and the essential characteristics of the 
mentor-protege relationship continue to be elusive as researchers obtain inconsistent 
results (Chao, 1997). For example, the findings on the effects on personal development 
and outcomes in cross-gendered mentor-protege dyads are ambiguous; some authors have 
found that women may have a more difficult time finding mentors or benefiting from 
being mentored by men, whereas other researchers conclude that there are no differences 
in outcomes or quality and effectiveness of the relationship in regard to gender issues. 
Similar problems beleaguer other areas of mentorship inquiry, such as the research into 
mentor-protege dyads comprised of persons from different ethnic backgrounds. 

These apparent contradictions in the literature should not be taken to mean there 
is no concordance between researchers or theorists regarding several important aspects of 
the mentoring relationship. Some areas of study reveal significant agreement, and some 
empirically well-supported models have become nearly ubiquitous in their longevity, 
centrality, and explanatory power. For example, one area of significant agreement among 
researchers regards the different functions that inhere in the relationship. Generally 
speaking, most authors agree that the mentoring functions construed as meeting the 
primary needs of the proteges fall into the two major categories first clearly described in 
Kathy Kram's (1985) seminal work on mentoring; career functions and psychosocial 
functions. 



13 

As implied by the increasing numbers of researchers, theoreticians, 

administrators, and business managers interested in clarifying the character and structure 

of the mentoring relationships — often with the explicit goal of developing effective and 

efficient mentoring programs in business and academia — mentoring continues to be an 

important topic as well as an elusive construct. That mentoring is effective seems to be 

taken for granted; what its effects are, how these effects are achieved, and who benefits 

from the relationship are still being clarified. Discussing the problem of definition in the 

context of methodology in mentoring research, Wrightsman (1981) noted that 

there is a false sense of consensus, because everyone "knows" what mentoring is. 
But closer examination indicates wide variation in operational definitions, leading 
to conclusions that are limited to the use of particular procedures. . . . The result is 
that the concept is devalued, because everyone is using it loosely, without 
precision. . . . (pp. 3-4) 

Researchers have identified several factors that result in confusion and overlap 

between projects and conceptualizations (e.g., Chao & Gardner, 1992; Jacobi, 1991; 

Wrightsman, 1981), including inconsistency in definitions, a lack of consensus regarding 

structural characteristics of the mentoring relationship, and the diversity of contexts in 

which mentoring is of importance. In considering these factors for the purposes of the 

present study, the research in the following categories will be reviewed: (a) construction 

of the mentoring relationship, (b) functions of the mentoring relationship, (c) phases of 

the mentoring relationship, (d) outcomes of the mentoring relationship, (e) obstacles to 

the mentoring relationship, (f) gender, ethnicity, and other cultural factors, and (g) ethical 

concerns in the mentoring relationship. 



14 
Construction of the Mentoring Relationship 

Given the potential and anticipated benefits and costs of mentoring to a business 
or educational institution (not to mention benefits and costs for proteges and mentors 
themselves), anyone wishing to develop a mentoring program needs accurate information 
as to how to initiate and structure the relationship within the relevant context. Many 
organizations and institutions have attempted to implement mentoring programs with 
which to garner these benefits (Gibb, 1999; Ragins & Cotton, 1999; Scandura, 1998). 
Typically, these efforts entail the formalization of those factors and processes construed 
by the program designers to be fundamental to successful mentoring in informal contexts 
(Chao et al., 1992; Noe, 1988). One of the major demarcations of mentoring and 
mentoring research is thus between formal and informal mentoring paradigms. 

The primary distinction between formal and informal mentoring relationships is in 
the method by which the relationship is initiated. In an informal mentoring relationship, 
the protege and the mentor initiate a relationship based on common interests, usually with 
the protege seeking out the mentor. Cronan-Hillix, Gensheimer, Cronan-Hillix, and 
Davidson (1986) found that more than 80% of surveyed proteges sought out their 
mentors on the basis of similar interests. An informal mentoring relationship is not 
managed, structured, or established by an external organization. This relationship is 
described as spontaneous, natural, or voluntary (Johnson, 2002; Pollock, 1995; Scandura, 
1998). 

Conversely, in a formal mentoring relationship, the business or institution has 
taken an active interest in the development of the protege, usually with specific tasks or 



15 
goals in mind (Murray, 1991). According to Gibb (1999), these goals often include better 
induction and socialization into the field, professional development, improved 
performance, and development of potential. The organization develops a formal system 
in which the company assesses its personnel and then determines who will be a mentor 
and who will be mentored. In a formal mentoring relationship, the roles are more clearly 
defined and the goals are more explicitly articulated than in an informal relationship, and 
specific methods of intervention are often prescribed for the mentor. 

A number of other factors in both the initiation and dynamics of formal and 
informal mentoring relationships may influence the character and outcomes of these 
relationships. Five issues identified in this body of literature will be presented here. First, 
although the mentor in a formally structured mentoring situation may be construed as 
suitable for a given protege by the mentoring coordinator, the protege may have a 
different opinion (as may the mentor). This may render the relationship not only 
ineffective, but also possibly detrimental (Murray, 1991). For example, the protege may 
have psychological or career needs that the mentor cannot meet or is not skilled enough 
to recognize. Second, a protege may not benefit as much from a formal mentoring 
relationship if he or she believes that the mentor is investing time and effort only in 
response to a management directive or because of a commitment to the organization, 
rather than because of an interest in the protege or the protege's work and development 
(Ragins & Cotton, 1999). Third, formal mentoring schemes are often focused on short- 
term needs and goals and may not provide enough time for mentors and proteges to reap 
the benefits of the functions. Kram (1985) and Chao (1997) noted that some functions 



16 
(especially career functions) take time to come to fruition and that short-term 
relationships with mentors may not be sufficient for these to germinate. Fourth, informal 
mentors may be more concerned with the long-term needs and outcomes of their proteges 
than their formal counterparts, and may, indeed, protect their proteges at a significant cost 
to the organization (Ragins & Cotton, 1999). Informal mentors may be more likely to 
identify personally with their proteges and, likewise, the protege with the mentor. Since 
mentors and proteges in informal relationships choose each other, their personal 
investment in the well being of the other may be greater than that in an assigned (formal) 
relationship (Johnson, 2000; Zuckerman, 1977). Finally, Ragins and Cotton (1999) 
argued that since formal mentors are more visible in an organization than informal 
mentors are, they might be more concerned about avoiding the appearance of favoritism 
towards their proteges. Contrariwise, informal mentors are expected to show favoritism, 
to sponsor their proteges, and to buffer them from departmental politics. 

Insofar as the informal mentoring relationship is prototypical and, therefore, 
presumed to be effective and efficient, the formalization of the relationship has received 
the most attention by researchers. Gibb (1999) noted that "while formal mentoring 
programs are now very popular, there is not much critical analysis of the reality of their 
relative successes and failures. . . " (p. 1057). Some researchers, however, have examined 
the effectiveness of attempts to replicate the benefits of informal relationships in the 
creation of formal mentoring programs. 

Chao et al. (1992) explored differences in the perceived support functions 
provided by mentors in formal and informal mentoring relationships. Support functions 



17 
were categorized as psychosocial functions or career functions as defined by Kram 
(1985). Psychosocial functions are defined as those that influenced the protege's 
competence, identity, and effectiveness in a professional role, whereas career functions 
are defined as those that enhanced career advancement. Other outcomes, such as salary 
and job satisfaction, were also assessed. In a survey of 576 university graduates (212 
informally mentored, 53 formally mentored, and 284 non-mentored), proteges who had 
been informally mentored reported receiving significantly greater career-related support 
from their mentors than did formally mentored respondents. Interestingly, although 
informally mentored proteges' scores were slightly higher than formally mentored 
proteges in the psychosocial functions as well, the differences were not statistically 
significant (thus, the researchers' hypothesis that informal mentoring relationships would 
provide a greater number of the psychosocial functions described by Kram was not 
supported). Additionally, both informally and formally mentored proteges scored higher 
than non-mentored students did, with informally mentored proteges scoring higher on all 
measures and formally mentored proteges scoring higher on only 3 of 12 measures. 

Fagenson-Eland, Marks, and Amendola (1997) conducted a similar study of 16 
informally mentored and 30 formally mentored proteges and obtained different results. 
Those participants who were informally mentored reported greater psychosocial support 
than did those who were formally mentored, yet both groups reported similar levels of 
career-related support. 

Ragins and Cotton (1999) noted the methodological difficulties (primarily in 
instrumentation used) of earlier studies and sought to clarify the discrepancies in the 



18 
previous research. These researchers developed an instrument that allowed for separate 
analysis of Kram's (1985) nine individual functions (five career and four psychosocial) 
and two additional functions, rather than the superordinate categories of psychosocial and 
career functions. They also assessed selected outcomes related to formally and informally 
mentored proteges and non-mentored persons. 

Ragins and Cotton (1999) surveyed a sample of 614 engineers, social workers, 
and journalists (257 men, 352 women, 5 who did not report gender), 510 who had been 
informally mentored, and 104 who had been formally mentored. These investigators 
found that informally mentored proteges reported significantly more career function 
support and more support in four of the six psychosocial domains measured than did 
proteges in the formally mentored group. Informally mentored proteges also reported 
greater satisfaction with their mentors and significantly greater job compensation than did 
those in formal mentoring relationships. Controlling for other factors, post hoc tests with 
non-mentored respondents revealed that proteges who had been informally mentored 
reported significantly greater job compensation than employees who had not been 
mentored, whereas no significant differences were reported in compensation between 
formally mentored and non-mentored employees. Finally, informally mentored 
employees received significantly more promotions than did both formally mentored and 
non-mentored individuals, whereas no significant differences were reported between 
formally mentored and non-mentored employees in this regard. 

The findings of this research (Ragins & Cotton, 1999) support the assertion that 
informal mentoring is significantly more beneficial than either formal mentoring or no 



19 
mentoring. Additionally, they provide some support for the position that formal 
mentoring schemes are more beneficial than no mentoring at all, and that formal 
mentoring can provide some of the functions believed to be beneficial in informal 
mentoring relationships. Ragins and Cotton suggested that the more closely a formal 
mentoring scheme approximates informal mentoring, the more likely that it will provide 
the benefits obtained in informal mentoring. They also suggested that formal mentoring 
be offered as an adjunct to informal mentoring, or perhaps as a preliminary to an informal 
relationship, stating that "proteges with formal mentors should be encouraged to seek 
informal mentors while in the last stage of their formal mentoring relationship" (p. 546). 
Clark, Harden, and Johnson (2000), taking the other side, asserted more strongly 
that "the unique quality of the mentor relationship and the long-term nature of 
relationship formation appear incongruent with third-party assignment" (p. 264). Some 
researchers (e.g., Clark et al.; Cronan-Hillix et al., 1986; Johnson, 2002; Johnson & 
Huwe, 2003) have also suggested that externally or structurally imposing the relationship 
precludes the inscrutable "magic" underlying the affiliation and may render the 
mentoring relationship merely utilitarian, lacking in passion and emotional investment. 
These researchers do not, however, equate informal with unplanned . Johnson and his 
colleagues (Johnson, 2002; Johnson & Huwe, 2003) explored ways to establish 
individual and organizational conditions that would likely facilitate the initiation and 
quality of what they refer to as intentional mentoring . These include such activities as 
preparing mentors and students for their roles, and establishing a departmental culture 
that recognizes and supports the value of the mentoring process (Cohen, Morgan, DiLillo, 



20 
& Flores, 2003; Gerholm, 1990; Lovitts, 2001). Johnson argued especially that the 
protege — but also the mentor— must be intentional and proactive in seeking out those 
with whom they would like to work and those who possess the qualities and resources to 
meet one's needs (see also Kram, 1985). 

As with many aspects of this body of literature, the results need further 
clarification. A clear limitation, however, is that formal mentoring, at least at its present 
stage of development, should not be construed as a sufficient substitute for informal 
mentoring relationships. On the other hand, while few authors would be willing to assert 
that people can be mentors or learn from mentors merely because they are mandated to 
by upper management, some will argue that if the conditions are established that facilitate 
the development of mentoring relationships, then the teaching, learning, and allied tasks 
and goals are more likely to be accomplished (Kram, 1985; Johnson, 2002; Murray 1991; 
Ragins & Cotton, 1999). 

Functions of the Mentoring Relationship 

Levinson (1978) asserted that the central function of a mentoring relationship is 
the development of the self of the protege. In describing his research on adult male 
development, Levinson stated, "The mentor relationship is one of the most complex, and 
developmentally important, a man can have in early adulthood. ... No word currently in 
use is adequate to convey the nature of the relationship we have in mind here" (Levinson, 
1978, p. 97). Although a mentor has a number of functions (e.g., sponsoring, guiding, 
teaching), Levinson asserted that the mentor's primary role is that of a transitional figure 
between parent and peer — neither one nor the other, but someone who can respond 



21 
appropriately to the developmental needs of the protege. Thus, according to Levinson, 
not only is the relationship more complex than has been suggested by other researchers 
(e.g., Murray, 1985), but it also ultimately exists for the developmental benefit of the 
protege, whether in the business context or in the educational context. 

Kram (1985) defined functions as "those aspects of a relationship that enhance 
both individuals' growth and advancement" (p. 22). One notable feature of Kram's 
conceptualization is the delineation of both psychosocial functions as well as career 
functions. Levinson' s (1978) work was in the context of adult development more 
generally and focused on the psychosocial development of the person. While Kram 
agreed that the mentoring relationship is a developmental one in which both parties are 
meeting each other's developmentally appropriate needs, she discovered that important 
career functions are also being carried out in the relationship. A second important aspect 
of Kram's model is that it takes into account the benefits that accrue to the mentor, as 
well as to the protege and the business or institution. Following this lead, researchers 
have investigated the benefits that accrue to the mentors as well (e.g., Ragins & 
Scandura, 1999; Wright & Wright, 1987). 
Career and Psychosocial Functions 

As noted previously, there is substantial agreement among authors regarding the 
basic functions of the mentoring relationship; however, this was not always the case. In 
her seminal research on mentoring, Kram (1985) evaluated the previous scattered 
research and noted meaningful consistencies in the data. She subsequently engaged in a 
research project in order to clarify the mentoring relationship, and developed a model that 



22 
elaborates both the phases in the mentoring relationship as well as the mentoring 
functions. Her model has provided the foundation and impetus for a great deal of research 
on mentoring. 

Kram's (1985) mentoring functions were derived from a content analysis of 
interviews with 1 8 mentor-protege dyads in a corporate setting. She identified two broad 
categories of functions: career functions and psychosocial functions. She defined career 
functions as those functions that contribute to the professional development of the 
protege and advancement in the organization. They include sponsorship (the mentor 
actively advocates for or promotes their protege in the field), exposure-and-visibility (the 
mentor provides or creates opportunities for the protege to demonstrate his or her 
competence in front of key figures in the organization), coaching (the mentor enhances 
the protege's knowledge and understanding about how to navigate effectively the culture 
and politics in the organization or field), protection (the mentor shields the protege from 
potentially damaging errors, interactions, or situations), and challenging assignments (the 
mentor provides meaningful opportunities for the protege to develop skills and 
competencies, and to obtain successes in the professional role). The ability to provide 
career functions depends on the mentor's experience, rank, and status or influence. If the 
mentor does not excel on these factors, then his or her ability to effectively provide the 
career functions is impaired. 

Contrariwise, psychosocial functions are based on the interpersonal relationship 
between the mentor and the protege and are possible only in the context of mutual trust 
and increasing intimacy. Kram (1985) defined these functions as "those aspects of a 



23 
relationship that enhance an individual's sense of competence, identity, and effectiveness 
in the professional role" (p. 32). These functions include acceptance-and-confirmation 
(both individual's derive a positive sense of self, personally and professionally, from the 
positive regard of the other), counseling (the ability to explore personal concerns that 
may interfere with the individual's professional development or functioning), friendship 
(positive social interactions that make the relationship enjoyable), and role modeling (the 
presentation of positive attitudes, values, and behaviors by the mentor that the protege 
identifies with and internalizes, and that pertain to all areas of the relationship ranging 
from modeling skills to enculturation in the organization or department). 

Although Kram's (1985) model is significant in the literature (Chao, 1997; Gilbert 
& Rossman, 1992; Johnson, 2002; Ragins & Cotton, 1999), it is not the only model 
available, nor are her nine functions the only ones noted. For example, Scandura (1992) 
developed a model that consists of the following three categories: vocational, social 
support, and role modeling. The vocational category correlates with Kram's career 
functions, whereas the social support and role modeling categories together are similar to 
Kram's psychosocial functions. Subsequent factor analyses of data by Noe (1998) and 
Schockett & Haring-Hidore (1985), however, confirmed a two-factor structure: (a) career 
(Noe, 1988) or vocational (Schockett & Haring-Hidore, 1985) functions, and (b) 
psychosocial functions. Olian, Carroll, Giannantonia, and Feren (as cited in Jacobi, 1991) 
conclude that proteges "see two primary dimensions to the benefits obtained from the 
relationship: job and career benefits through information and external brokering provided 



24 
by the mentor, and psychological benefits from the emotional support and friendship 
obtained within the relationship" (p. 19). 
Additional Functions 

Researchers have proposed a number of additional functions. Jacobi (1991), in his 
review of eight theorists, referred to 15 important functions (including Kram's) that have 
been suggested, adding (for example) advice, clarification, socialization, and training. 
Cameron and Blackburn (1981) added that mentors are often expected to provide 
financial support, job placement support, publication support, research collaboration, and 
more. More informally, this researcher's 30-minute perusal of approximately 20 of 
journal articles revealed 35 distinct terms describing the functions or roles typically 
ascribed to the mentor in the mentoring relationship. Pollock (1995) identified 144 terms 
referring to mentors' behavior in her research. One wonders if true mentors are human (if 
they exist at all) given the plethora of inspiring roles they must fulfill. 

It is also important to note, then, that not all mentors are expected to fulfill all 

roles or functions. Levinson (1978) wrote, 

Mentoring is defined not in terms of the formal roles but in terms of the character 
of the relationship and the functions that it serves. ... A student may receive very 
little mentoring from his teacher/advisor, and very important mentoring from an 
older friend or relative. We have to examine a relationship closely to discover the 
amount and kind of mentoring it provides, (p. 98). 

The needs of the protege are often diverse, and many of them are unique to the 

individual. Likewise, the capacities of mentors vary from mentor to mentor. Proteges and 

mentors seek each other based largely on common interests, as well as on whether the 

other has the skills and resources to meet the individual protege's or mentor's particular 



25 
set of needs (Kram, 1985; Levinson, 1978; Lovitts, 2001; Swerdlik & Bardon, 1988; 
Zuckerman, 1977). The large numbers of roles and functions proposed reflects this 
diversity and complexity. 

A comment needs to be made on the concept of mentoring functions that is 
relevant to this project. Although in significant agreement regarding the general functions 
that a mentor fulfills and the factors used to describe them, researchers have been 
essentially silent on just what a function accomplishes. They have derived lists of 
functions and behaviors, but have not clarified why, for example, a good mentor's 
teaching is different from that of any other teacher. Or again, to say that a mentor 
"provides support" is to say what? To isolate 144 terms regarding mentor behaviors or 
functions does not adequately clarify what makes mentoring unique, special, or worthy of 
interest in itself. The current project was undertaken with this lack of clear distinction in 
mind. 

Phases of the Mentoring Relationship 

To claim that relationships change is to state the obvious, and the mentoring 

relationship is no exception to this phenomenon. In the context of his work on adult male 

development, Levinson (1978) noted the changes over time in the relationship between a 

young man and his mentor: 

In the usual course, a young man initially experiences himself as a novice or 
apprentice to a more advanced, expert, and authoritative adult. As the relationship 
evolves, he gains a fuller sense of his own authority and his capability for 
autonomous, responsible action. The balance of giving/receiving becomes more 
equal. The younger man increasingly has the experience of "I am" as an adult, and 
their relationship becomes more mutual. This shift serves a crucial developmental 
function for the young man: it is part of the process by which he transcends the 
father-son, man-boy division of his childhood. Although he is officially defined as 



26 

an adult at 18 or 21, and desperately wants to be one, it takes many years to 
overcome the sense of being a son or a boy in relation to "real" adults, (pp. 98-99) 

In the above quote, Levinson (1978) was referring to the psychological 
development and transitions of the male adolescent from early to middle adulthood with 
the help of a mentor. Substituting the terms "young woman," "employee," or "graduate 
student" in place of "young man" does not alter the insight. In a relationship with a 
teacher, advisor, sponsor (i.e., a mentor), the protege will progress from not only being a 
novice, but also from feeling like a novice. A corollary to this psychological development 
is an increased capacity to apprehend and benefit from increasingly important, complex, 
and subtle aspects of the task at hand, whether in life, work, or education. 

Researchers and theorists are not known for their propensity to pass up the 
opportunity to reduce complex phenomena to a set of superordinate constructs: Erikson's 
(1980) psychosocial stages, Kohlberg's (1963) stages of moral development, Piaget's 
stages of cognitive development (Wadsworth, 1989), Helm's (1995) racial identity 
statuses are examples. Similarly, mentoring, like these other important relationships, has 
a developmental course that researchers and theorists have characterized by phases. The 
three predominant models that have received attention in the literature have been 
proposed by Phillips (1982), Missirian (1982), and Kram (1983, 1985). As discussed by 
Pollock (1995), isolating phases in relationships requires both descriptions of the features 
of interest as well as the ability to place these features in a temporal frame to determine if 
patterns that might represent stages or phases emerge. All three models meet these 
criteria. 



27 

Philips' Five Phase Model 

In developing her model, Phillips (1982) interviewed 50 successful women 
protegees, many of whom had also been mentors. Phillips identified the following five 
phases that comprise the course of a mentoring relationship: (a) initiation, (b) mutual 
admiration, (c) development, (d) disillusionment, and (e) parting and transformation. 

Initiation refers to the time at the very onset of the relationship in which the 
mentor and protege are just meeting and agreeing to work together. Mutual admiration , 
also referred to as the "sparkle" phase (Missirian, 1982), refers to the fantasies that each 
party has regarding the other in terms of his or her talents and potential. Development is a 
longer, two-part phase. Much of the work early in this stage is one-way (i.e., from the 
mentor to the protege) as the mentor structures and "kick-starts" the relationship, building 
the protege's confidence and professional competence. Later parts of this stage are more 
reciprocal, with the protege beginning to engage with the mentor (Phillips, 1982). 

Disillusionment is a phase in which the polish is off the mentor, and the protege 
begins to become more autonomous and independent in his or her functioning. Although 
the mentor continues to meet the protege's needs, the urgency and level of doing so 
decreases, and the protege begins to separate from the mentor. The final stage of parting 
and transformation is characterized by a decrease in interactions between the mentor and 
protege. The relationship is transformed from a mentor-protege relationship to a senior- 
junior colleague or peer relationship (Phillips, 1982). In developing one of the first 
models (her work was based on her original 1977 dissertation project), Phillips' model 
established a framework that subsequent research has tended to support. 



28 
Missirian's Three-Phase Model 

Missirian (1982) developed another model of the stages of the mentoring 
relationship based on interviews of 10 female corporate executives. Missirian identified 
the following three phases in the course of the mentoring relationship: (a) initiation, 
(b) development, and (c) termination. In this model, initiation is characterized by high 
expectations on the mentor's part as he or she recognizes the protege's talents and 
potential. The mentor provides significant challenges and opportunities as if testing the 
protege, even while providing the support, respect, and encouragement necessary for the 
protege to succeed. 

The development phase, also referred to as "total commitment," is one in which 
the mentor provides a full range of training, support, modeling, challenge, responsibility, 
coaching, and other functions. The protege is learning the tricks of the trade and being 
socialized into the organization, acquiring the inside knowledge and skills necessary to 
continue to move up the ladder in skill, position, and status. The protege is likewise 
totally committed to the task and to the mentor, and both are becoming fully invested in 
their career development and professional growth. Mentor demands are seen as 
opportunities, and challenges are overcome. Later in this stage, the protege begins to 
function more independently and creatively (Missirian, 1982). 

During the termination phase that naturally follows the development phase, the 
mentor begins to recommend the protege for promotions, associates more as a peer 
(though yet senior), and begins to separate and let go the mentor-protege relationship. 
The protege becomes more fully aware of his or her own strengths and skills, as well as 



29 

the limitations of the mentor, and also begins to look towards the next step in career or 
professional development (Missirian, 1982). 
Kram's Four-Phase Model 

Kram (1983, 1985) noted that both of these models (Phillips, 1982; Missirian, 
1982), although empirically grounded in interviews, are limited in that they were derived 
from retrospective accounts, taken largely from the perspective of the proteges (Phillips) 
or the mentors (Missirian) only, and were based on interviews with female managers 
only. She also noted that although these studies were valuable, they provided no direction 
in isolating factors that would cause the relationship to transition from one phase to the 
next (Kram, 1983). To address these difficulties, Kram interviewed 18 pairs of older and 
younger managers (both men and women) who were currently in a mentoring 
relationship. Furthermore, these relationships were at different active stages, obviating 
the need for retrospective accounting. 

Kram (1983, 1985) identified the following four phases in the course of the 
mentoring relationship: (a) initiation, (b) cultivation, (c) separation, and (d) redefinition. 
Initiation is defined as a period of time (usually 6 months to 1 year) in which the 
relationship in initiated and progresses from a mere interaction to an important 
relationship between the two parties. This occurs when hopes for the relationship become 
concrete expectations within the relationship between the mentor and protege. Cultivation 
(2 to 5 years) is a period in which the maximum range of career and psychosocial 
functions are provided. Both the mentor and the protege continue to benefit from the 
alliance, and emotional bonds increase, as do opportunities for meaningful interactions. 



30 
The third phase, separation (6 months to 2 years), represents significant emotional 
and structural changes in the relationship that occur when the protege wants to become 
more autonomous and seeks less guidance from the mentor. Redefinition , the final stage 
of the mentoring relationship, occurs for an indefinite time following the separation phase 
and is characterized by a complete termination of the relationship or a reconstitution of it 
in a new form — often as a peer (Kram, 1983, 1985). 
Empirical Validity of the Phase Models 

Although these characterizations of the phases of mentoring are well supported by 
the work of the given authors, and are widely referred to in the literature, very little 
subsequent research has been conducted to determine their empirical validity. Only two 
articles (Chao, 1997; Pollock, 1995) were found that specifically examined the proposed 
phases of the mentoring relationship. In an attempt to assess the validity of the three 
above mentioned relationship phase models of mentoring, Pollock surveyed 138 proteges 
and 218 non-mentored individuals from a diverse population of middle and upper-level 
managers in a broad range of industries. Pollock asked respondents to reply to a list of 
behaviors derived from the literature on mentor behaviors, indicating whether, when, and 
how often they recollect the behavior occurring on the part of their mentors. These 
behaviors were to be ascribed to one of three time frames: early, middle, or late parts of 
the mentoring relationship. These behaviors were then matched to the phase models 
(Kram, 1983, 1985; Missirian, 1982; Phillips, 1982) to determine which model fit the 
data most adequately. 



31 
In general, Pollock (1995) found that all of the selected mentor functions were 
provided at all times during the mentoring relationship. While there was some indication 
that psychosocial functions received more endorsement both early and late in the 
relationship and that all functions were more frequently experienced in the middle than at 
the beginning of the relationship, there were no statistically significant differences in any 
stage between functions received. The implication is that there are, in fact, no phases in 
which different functions are emphasized or predominant, as was conceptualized by the 
three models (Kram, 1983, 1985; Missirian, 1982; Phillips, 1982). 

The value of Pollock's (1995) study is questionable, however, due to some 
methodological concerns. First, the data were survey-based and retrospective, rather than 
interviews and current, which introduces questions as to the reliability and validity of the 
data. A second critical problem is that Pollock evaluated all three of the phase models and 
concluded that they could all be accurately condensed to a three-phase model, 
distinguished by presence, type, and frequency of the mentoring behaviors. This became 
the model that Pollock used in her research. As a result of this reduction, Pollock's 
instructions to the respondents required them to situate the recollected behaviors in one of 
the three predetermined time frames (i.e., early, middle, late) of the mentoring 
relationship. While it may allow for phases to emerge — assuming there are differences in 
the frequency or occurrence of the available mentor behaviors — this procedure forces a 
three-phase paradigm, thus defeating the possibility of finding or confirming a four- or 
five-stage model (e.g., Kram, 1983; Phillips, 1982). Given these methodological 



32 
concerns, it is questionable whether the results of this study can be meaningfully 
interpreted as appropriate evaluations these three models as intended. 

The second project assessing mentoring phases was carried out by Chao (1997), 
who evaluated only Kram's (1983) model. Chao used descriptions derived from Kram's 
model to query 192 proteges about their current phase of mentoring relationships. This 
investigator then obtained data regarding mentor psychosocial and career functions (also 
derived from Kram, 1983, 1985), as well as other factors such as job satisfaction and 
income (these other data will be discussed in subsequent sections of this review). Chao 
found that proteges in the initiation phase reported the lowest levels of mentoring 
functions (both career and psychosocial) than in any other phase. No other statistically 
significant differences were found between mentoring phases and mentoring functions. 
Although predictions were supported regarding the initiation phase as a time in which the 
relationship is still being established, no other support for phases in the mentoring 
relationship was found (using mentoring functions as a dependent variable). 

Chao's (1997) findings were consistent with those of Pollock (setting aside for the 
moment questions regarding Pollock's methodology), and bring into question the validity 
of the phase models as they are presently construed (Kram, 1983; Missirian, 1982; 
Phillips, 1982). Concerns thus arise regarding other areas of the literature on mentoring 
subsequent to these ambiguities. For example, Johnson and Huwe (2003) asserted that 
Kram's model has been empirically validated, citing the Pollock (1995) and Chao (1999) 
research, and devote a chapter to this model. Additionally, Johnson and Huwe provide no 



33 
justification for transferring the phase structure to the graduate school context, which 
arguably has meaningful differences from the business context in which it was derived. 

Categorical reductions such as provided by these phase models may provide 
access to complex phenomena, facilitate understanding and explanation, and provide a 
common lexicon that facilitates discussion. It is important, however, that researchers and 
theorists do not fall into the error of reifying the categories and limiting their research to 
confirmatory paradigms. As is evidenced by the foregoing, that phases can be delineated 
and operationalized does not necessarily indicate that there are invariably objective 
differences between the phases in terms of functions. Kram's well-constructed and 
empirically grounded four-phase model has provided 20 years of theoretical shorthand 
and intuitive clarity, but has yet to find definitive empirical support. Fortunately, as noted 
by Chao (1997), "the maximum level of functions provided to the protege is more 
important than temporal fluctuations of these functions as the mentorship evolves" (p. 26). 

Outcomes of the Mentoring Relationship 

Outcomes are, in a word, the reason for mentoring. The benefits that accrue to the 
mentor or the protege (or the institution, or society) are what drive the interest in 
understanding mentoring and trying to implement mentoring programs. For example, 
Zuckerman (1977) reported some fascinating statistics: 48 of the 92 Nobel Laureates in 
the United States prior to 1972 had Nobel Laureate mentors. Ten laureates in the United 
States have mentored 30 Nobel winners. Forty-one percent of all Nobel winners of all 
nationalities from 1901 to 1972 had at least one laureate mentor. Yet, while it almost 
invariably assumed that the mentoring relationship leads to positive outcomes, it is 



34 
helpful and instructive to validate these assumptions with research. Clear empirical 
support should help those involved in mentoring or in designing and implementing 
mentoring programs determine which functions and activities would garner the best 
possible outcomes. 

Although there is a significant body of literature on the outcomes of mentoring, 
outcomes have typically been associated with independent or predictor variables such as 
whether or not a person was mentored at all, or whether the protege was satisfied with the 
mentoring received, as opposed to specific mentoring functions. In one sense, the relative 
lack of literature exploring the relationship between specific mentoring functions and 
concrete outcomes is consistent with the thoughts of some of the more prominent 
theorists (e.g., Kram, 1985; Levinson, 1978). Relationships are complex and multiply 
determined, and people, heedless of statistical averages, continue to be unique and 
idiosyncratic. Kram indicated that mentoring is a developmental relationship and that the 
tendency to want to view it as an easily created and maintained panacea is simplistic and 
inaccurate. She asserts that more attention needs to be given to the quality of the 
relationship, as well as to the characteristics and needs of the individual proteges and 
mentors. Levinson similarly noted that it is not the functions of the relationship that are 
critical; rather, it is the quality of the relationship and how well it fulfills the needs of the 
unique protege. 
Correlation of Functions to Outcomes 

Nonetheless, that the relationship between the many functions proposed as 
definitional of mentoring and specific, concrete outcomes should be empirically explored 



35 
seems straightforward. Unfortunately, the literature does not reflect such an exploration. 
Only one article was found that explored the relationship between specific functions 
hypothesized to be important and the outcomes that may reasonably be associated with 
those functions. Cameron and Blackburn's (1981) study of sponsorship explored specific 
mentoring functions associated with concrete outcomes. In 250 surveys and 25 interviews 
of active doctoral-level faculty in sociology, psychology, and English departments at nine 
universities, these investigators asked whether sponsorship (as defined by such functions 
as financial support, publication support, assistance on first job placement, and 
collaboration on research projects received while a graduate student) was associated with 
later rate of publication, grants received, rate of collaboration, and significant 
involvement in professional associations. Findings provided some support for 
associations between the assistance received as a graduate student in these areas and the 
described outcomes. 

Although the findings of Cameron and Blackburn's (1981) study provided 
important (though limited) empirical support for the value of certain specific functions in 
the long-terms outcomes for doctoral students, there are two difficulties. First, while this 
project explored a function-outcome relationship, the function (sponsorship) was itself 
broken down into a number of smaller functions. This approach dilutes the clarity of the 
findings, which is a difficulty reported by the authors when they noted that the 
independent predicative power of the variables (functions) was reduced when multiple 
regressions analyses were carried out. Second, there is no mention in the article if the 
relationships were (or were construed as) mentoring relationships (as opposed to research 



36 

assistantships or something else), and thus the applicability to mentoring is at best 

inferred. 

Self-Efficacy, Productivity, and Success in Graduate School 

With the aforementioned limitations regarding specificity in the function-outcome 
research in mind, the research exploring outcomes in relation to mentoring is, in general, 
predominantly supportive. Hollingsworth and Fassinger (2002) explored the relationship 
between mentoring and students' research self-efficacy and research productivity among 
3rd- and 4th- year doctoral students in psychology. Using a questionnaire based on 
Kram's (1985) career and psychosocial functions, Hollingsworth and Fassinger found 
that both research self-efficacy and research productivity of doctoral students increased 
as a function of the mentoring they received. 

A further example of increased productivity was provided by a study of 1 74 
mentored and 54 non-mentored female graduate students conducted by LeCluyse, 
Tollefson, and Borgers (1985), who found that mentored students engaged in 
significantly more professional activities than did non-mentored students. Professional 
activities were defined as publishing an article or chapter, authoring a grant, presenting a 
paper, conducting a workshop, conducting research, joining a professional organization, 
attending a national conference, or working as a graduate assistant. 

Interviewing and surveying administrators, department chairs, faculty, and 
students across the country, Lovitts (2001) explored the importance of the advisor-student 
relationship in graduate education as regards completion of the doctoral program. This 
researcher defined an advisor as "the person most responsible for guiding you through 



37 
your graduate work" (p. 165), a definition not dissimilar to many provided by mentoring 
researchers. Although not focusing on researcher mentoring, per se, Lovitts uncovered a 
number of factors related to a student's decision to complete graduate school in the 
context of her work on graduate student attrition. Some of the most significant factors 
were similar or identical to those identified as functions within the mentoring literature. 
For example, mentor/advisor functions such as integration/socialization into the 
professional community, academic interactions, collaboration in research projects, job 
search assistance, role modeling, and many others were correlated with a student's 
decision to complete his or her doctoral education, which was Lovitts' primary dependent 
(criterion) variable. Lovitts also explored outcome variables related to students' activities 
while still in the academy (e.g., participation in professional and departmental activities), 
again noting the positive correlations between these activities and students' satisfaction 
with their advisors. 
Job Satisfaction, Promotion, and Income Level 

The benefits of mentoring in academia extend beyond the academic setting. Chao 
(1997) explored the differences in outcomes between 151 mentored and 93 non-mentored 
employed graduates of a college of engineering. The criterion variables were job 
satisfaction, career outcomes, organizational socialization (the extent to which proteges 
believed they had been well socialized into their professional roles), and income. Results 
showed that proteges garnered significant outcome benefits as compared to their non- 
mentored peers. These findings were also supported in a similar study by Dreher and Ash 
(1990). They surveyed 440 graduates of two business schools and found significant 



38 
positive correlations between the quantity of mentoring received and rates of promotion, 
income levels, and satisfaction with pay and benefits. 

In another study, Chao et al. (1992) surveyed 576 alumni from two academic 
institutions and found similar outcomes related to job satisfaction, organizational 
socialization, and salary among 265 mentored proteges and 284 non-mentored persons. 
On all outcome measures, mentored individuals reported significantly better outcomes 
than did non-mentored individuals. Ragins and Cotton (1999) also examined differences 
in outcomes as a function of whether or not an individual received mentoring. Their 
survey of 1258 employees in engineering, social work, and journalism (614 mentored in 
the work place and 548 without mentoring experience at work) revealed that mentored 
individuals received greater compensation and more promotions than did non-mentored 
individuals. 

Building on the theme of better outcomes for proteges, Fagenson (1988) explored 
employees' perceptions of the amount of power they have in an organization as a 
function of whether they were mentored. A survey of 246 individuals working for a large 
company in the health care industry revealed that those with mentors perceived 
themselves as having more access to important people, more influence over 
organizational policy, and a higher level of resource access in the organization than did 
those without mentors. This effect, though different in absolute terms, was consistent 
across levels in the organization and across gender. That is, those with mentors reported 
higher perceptions of power in the organization than those without mentors regardless of 
gender or level. Although Fagenson noted that no effort was made to determine if this 



39 
perceived power was also actual, she held that the benefits could be subsumed under 
Kram's (1985) proposed career functions. 
Impact of Protege Characteristics 

Lest one think that only good things can be said about mentoring, however, there 
is a qualifier worth noting. Research suggests that the characteristics of proteges before 
they enter into a mentoring relationship may account for some outcomes that have been 
attributed to mentoring and, indeed, facilitate entering into such a relationship in the first 
place. A number of authors have noted the possibility that the student's characteristics 
may be a more powerful predictor of satisfaction or outcomes than what actually occurs 
within the relationship (Jacobi, 1991; Johnson & Huwe, 2003; Zuckerman, 1977). 
However, other investigators (e.g., Lovitts, 2001) are adamant in their belief that "it is not 
the background characteristics of students. . . it's what happens to them after they arrive" 
(p. 2) that determines many of the outcomes of interest. If personality characteristics are 
indeed a critical factor in determining who receives mentoring, however, then much of 
the mentoring outcome literature is brought into question, as few researchers have 
attempted to control for protege characteristics in their study designs. 

Turban and Dougherty (1994) examined the potential impact of protege 
characteristics on mentoring receptivity and career outcomes. In their survey of 147 
graduates from a midwestern university, these researchers discovered that certain 
personality characteristics (locus of control, self-monitoring, emotional stability) 
predicted whether or not the student would initiate a mentoring relationship with a faculty 
member. Subsequent analyses supported additional hypotheses that initiating a mentoring 



40 
relationship resulted in receiving more mentoring, and that receiving more mentoring was 
related to both career attainment and perceived career success. Turban and Dougherty 
thus concluded that personality characteristics indirectly influence career outcomes by 
modulating mentoring received. 

In a similar vein, Green and Bauer (1995) found no differences in outcomes in 
terms of publications or submissions for publication after controlling for the incoming 
potential of a doctoral student sample. In this well-designed study, Green and Bauer 
explored the relationship among the attitudes, abilities, and commitment of students at 
entry into the program and two outcome factors: productivity (number of convention 
papers, journal articles, book chapters, and grants/contracts accepted) and level of 
mentoring. Support was found for the hypotheses that greater student abilities at entry 
would predict an increase in mentoring received. Furthermore, the hypothesis that 
increased mentoring positively contributed to student productivity or commitment to 
research career was not supported, again controlling for participants' incoming 
characteristics. These investigators concluded that advisors look for incoming students 
with high potential and commitment and provide more mentoring for them than for their 
less capable or less motivated peers. This also raises a question concerning the motivation 
of mentors who are unable to find the time to help those students who may need it most. 

Thus, while some authors attribute student's not receiving mentoring to students' 
own personality characteristics (e.g., Johnson and Huwe, 2003 cite possible protege 
narcissism, arrogance, inappropriate boundaries, or procrastination), others (e.g., Lovitts, 
2001) believe that the mentor, being older (usually), wiser (hopefully), of higher status 



41 
and power, and being in a position to know the larger picture, inherits a greater 
responsibility to manage the relationship in a positive way. It seems unlikely that the 
problems are either simple or categorical. In either case, although graduate schools must 
recruit highly motivated and competent students, once a student is recruited by the school 
and accepted by an advisor, the school and the advisor assume an obligation to facilitate 
the student's development (Council of Graduate Schools, 1990; University of Florida, 
1997; University of Kansas, 2003). 

In summary, then, the literature generally supports the positive outcomes 
attributed to mentoring relationships for both the protege and the mentor. However, there 
is some reason for hesitation regarding the absolute value of the research until additional 
work is conducted clarifying the potential confound of student factors at entry. It can 
safely be inferred that the same considerations apply in a business context as well. 

Obstacles to the Relationship 

As with the preceding limitations regarding the positive nature of mentoring 
outcomes, another concern needs to be addressed. Not all mentoring relationships are 
positive experiences in themselves — for the protege or the mentor. Research suggests that 
a significant number of proteges have had bad experiences in mentoring relationships 
(Eby, MacManus, Simon, & Russell, 2000). A number of authors have explored this issue 
and have described characteristics of dysfunctional mentoring relationships (Johnson & 
Huwe, 2003; Kram, 1985; Lovitts, 2001; O'Neil & Wrightsman, 2001; Scandura, 1998; 
Wright & Wright, 1987). 



42 
Negative Behaviors 

O'Neil and Wrightsman (2001) identified a number of negative behaviors in 
which either or both the mentor and the protege may engage: using threats, being overly 
authoritarian or submissive, being unavailable, acting sexist, racist, classist, ethnocentric, 
or homophobic, being intellectually rigid, being unwilling to compromise, encouraging 
dependence, abusing confidential information, devaluing other students or faculty, 
playing one-upmanship, and/or comparing other students and faculty. Scandura (1992), in 
his typology of dysfunctional behaviors, add to this list sabotage, spoiling, deception, and 
harassment. 
Structural, Department Specific, and Relational Obstacles 

Johnson and Huwe (2003) divided the major obstacles to mentoring into the 
following three categories: (a) structural, (b) department specific, and (c) relational. 
Structural obstacles are products of the system in which they are imbedded (e.g., graduate 
schools). These obstacles include giving the faculty or managers job credit only for 
immediate productivity or funded research, or the hiring of part-time employees or 
student instructors, thereby reducing the pool of available mentors. 

The second category of obstacles to mentoring described by Johnson and Huwe is 
department specific, representing problems in the culture of the particular department. 
Examples of department specific obstacles are admitting more students than the 
department can support or graduate (thus setting up competition and an expectation of 
failure), failing to hire and keep minority or women faculty or managers, and failing to 



43 
concretely support mentoring with reduced teaching or productivity requirements or by 
including successful mentoring in promotion decisions (Johnson & Huwe, 2003). 

The third category of obstacles, relational problems, stem from the personality 
characteristics and behavior patterns of a particular faculty mentor, manager, or protege, 
or the interactions of traits in the mentor and the protege. Scandura (1992), for example, 
developed a model for conceptualizing factors contributing to possible outcomes of 
dysfunctional relationships. This model includes both protege and mentor characteristics 
(e.g., demographics, personality) as contributing factors, and describes possible negative 
outcomes to proteges (e.g., low self-esteem, poor job outcomes, stress, leaving), and to 
mentors (e.g., stress, jealousy, overdependence, betrayal). 

Additionally, as previously noted, mentors tend to select and invest in those 
proteges who are considered most promising and whose interests are most similar to the 
mentor's interests. Johnson and Huwe (2003) expressed concerns about equal access to 
mentoring among students who are less exceptional. These authors further noted that 
discrepant expectations between the mentor and the protege concerning the character and 
functions of mentoring could lead to dissatisfaction and dysfunction in the mentoring 
relationship. 

These obstacles to the mentoring relationship, at whatever level, can have a 
significant impact on the quality of the relationship. For example, mentors who are not 
given the support they need to fulfill their roles as mentors must often focus their time, 
energy, and attention on the needs of their "primary" assignments, perhaps sacrificing the 
needs of the protege in the process. Proteges whose expectations are rudely disconfirmed, 



44 
or whose mentors are more focused on departmental requirements of tenure, may find 
that having a mentor is not worth the trouble. Often proteges in this situation find 
themselves getting their needs met elsewhere, and by other people. 
Risks to Mentors 

Wright and Wright (1987) noted that the mentor also is at risk in the relationship. 
Taking on a commitment to a protege is highly demanding of both time and effort and 
also may cost political capital if the protege fails to live up to expectations or needs 
excessive protection from the consequences of mistakes. Often, especially in the so- 
called hard sciences, the mentor's work and reputation are on the line when a protege is 
given responsibility for some critical aspect of the mentor's research. Additionally, the 
protege could prove to be unable to develop appropriate autonomy and become unable to 
carry out tasks without constant supervision or "baby-sitting." On the other hand, the 
mentor, who hopefully has invested him or herself personally in the protege, may be 
rejected by them. 

Researchers generally agree that potential problems and obstacles inherent in 
mentoring relationships include personality, as well as organizational factors. Some 
authors (e.g., Johnson & Huwe, 2003; Walfish & Hess, 2001) have explored these 
problems more fully and presented relevant discussion regarding how to negotiate these 
issues in a mentoring context. Invariably, these authors recommend approaching the 
selection process and the relationship in an intentional and informed manner, given the 
enormous time, energy, financial, and emotional investment. 



45 
Other Factors That Affect the Mentoring Relationship 

Insofar as mentoring may be one of the most important interpersonal relationships 
ever experienced by students, both personally and professionally (Gilbert & Rossman, 
1992; Kram, 1985; Tinto, 1987), understanding the impact of gender, ethnicity, and other 
cultural factors on the mentoring processes and outcomes also holds significant import 
(Bogat & Redner, 1985). Since mentoring relationships are often based on perceived 
similarities between mentor and protege, cultural differences may inhibit their formation 
and functioning (Atkinson, Neville, & Casas, 1990; Redmond, 1990). In addition, the 
lack of same-gender, same-ethnicity, or other identity-affirming role models may create 
difficulties in identity development as the protege strives to identify with or internalize a 
mentor who has limited insight into the protege's culture or concerns (Bruss & Kopala, 
1993; Levinson, 1978). 
Gender Factors 

The impact of gender on mentoring has received the greatest attention among 
researchers. The almost ubiquitous inclusion of gender as a demographic variable in 
research has facilitated this exploration, and provides important information. Gender 
effects have often been analyzed and noted, even in studies primarily designed to explore 
other factors. 

Another factor that may influence the relative frequency of including the gender 
variable is the number of women conducting research on mentoring relationships. In fact, 
many of the foundational and ongoing researchers are women (e.g., Chao, 1997; 
Fagenson, 1988, 1992; Hite, 1985; Hollingsworth & Fassinger, 2002; Jacobi, 1991; 



46 
Kram, 1983; Lovitts, 2001; Missirian, 1982; Murray, 1991; Scandura, 1998; Wilde & 
Schau, 1991; Zuckerman, 1977). Whatever the reasons for this proportion of female 
researchers, the insight they provide may be helpful in understanding the issues inherent 
in the question. 

Some areas of concern raised by authors include factors that pertain to non- 
mentoring relationships as well. For example, in exploring gender differences in 
relationships with significant power differentials between the individuals involved, 
Scandura (1992) explored concerns regarding sexual harassment. Female proteges, in 
particular, may be faced with situations in which the person with the most power over her 
professional or academic outcomes is a male who adheres to certain stereotypes that 
entitle him to favors from female underlings. Conversely, a male mentor may, with the 
best of intentions, be overprotective or excessively forgiving of a female protegee, thus 
encouraging feelings of dependence or incompetence, and perhaps denying the protege 
the opportunity to develop autonomy or independence (Clawson & Kram, 1984; Kram, 
1983). Bogat and Redner (1985) discussed reservations on the part of some faculty that 
women are able to complete graduate school, and some faculty member's perceptions 
that women were less likely to make significant contributions to their fields than men. 

Mixed-gender mentoring dyads also must be aware not only of their own 
interpersonal behaviors, but also of public perceptions. Rumors may develop based on 
observed togetherness or friendship behaviors misconstrued as sexual intimacy (Wright 
& Wright, 1987). Male mentors especially may actually maintain unnecessary distance in 
an effort to address or preempt these kinds of concerns, thus limiting the protege's access 



47 
to them or depriving the protege of important social interactions (Clawson & Kram, 
1984). 

As with any interpersonal relationship, then, many factors may be cause for 
concern in cross-gendered relationships. These difficulties are often exacerbated by the 
inclusion of personal characteristics as well as social/cultural perceptions and 
expectations. It is thus important that mentors and proteges recognize and maintain 
professional boundaries — neither too rigid nor too permeable — lest the relationship be no 
longer a positive mentoring experience. 

Regarding specific mentoring functions and outcomes, the empirical research into 
the effects of gender on the mentoring relationship is more ambivalent, with some 
researchers finding no effect and others finding significant effects. Ragins and Cotton's 
(1999) study of 352 female and 257 male proteges found that the gender composition of 
the mentoring dyad affected functions and outcomes. For example, female-female 
mentor-protege pairs were more likely to engage in after-work social activities than were 
female proteges with male mentors. Male proteges with female mentors were less likely 
to report having received acceptance functions from their mentor than any other gender 
combinations, and both male and female proteges who have had male mentors received 
more compensation than did those who have had female mentors. This could be 
explained by Cameron and Blackburn's (1981) findings that proteges sponsored by men 
developed significantly larger networking associations than did women. 

Further complicating matters, findings concerning gender differences often appear 
to depend on the outcomes measured. Burke, McKeen, and McKenna's (1990) study of 



48 
81 male and 13 female mentors found that female mentors provided both more career and 
more psychosocial functions than did male mentors, yet there were no differences in 
outcome measures as a function of gender of mentor or protege. In a subsequent study of 
280 female business graduates, Burke and McKeen (1996) again reported few differences 
in job satisfaction, career satisfaction, job involvement, or career prospects for female 
proteges regardless of mentors' gender. Interestingly, although women with female 
mentors received more psychosocial support than did women with male mentors, these 
women were more likely to report their intentions to quit the organization. This finding 
was not explained by the available data. 

Among same-sex and cross-sex dyads in a sample of 466 female proteges in 
business, Gaskill (1991) found differences between male and female mentors in functions 
performed (female mentors performed more psychosocial functions), relationship 
initiation (male mentors were more likely to unilaterally initiate a relationship, whereas 
female mentors were more likely to mutually initiate the relationship), and protege 
characteristics. No differences, however, were found in mentor characteristics, benefits 
derived, problems reported, duration, termination causes, feelings about the relationship, 
or reported value of the relationship. These findings support the hypothesis that women 
benefit as much from male mentors as they do from female mentors. 

On the other hand, a number of researchers have more consistently found that 
gender has no impact on mentoring initiation, functions, or outcomes. Wilde and Schau 
(1991) surveyed 177 graduate students (60% female) and found no differences in 
psychological and professional mutual support, comprehensiveness, protege professional 



49 
development, and research together as a function of gender of protege, mentor, or cross- 
gendered dyads. Furthermore, Fagenson (1988, 1992) found no differences as a function 
of gender between mentored and non-mentored proteges regarding need for power, 
autonomy, affiliation, achievement, or perceptions of power in the organization. 
Surveying 80 female and 80 male executives, Ragins and Scandura (1994) explored 
anecdotal reports that women were less likely to mentor than were men. Findings 
revealed that women executives were as likely as men to be mentors, had every intention 
of mentoring other women, and that women and men reported similar perceptions of the 
costs and benefits of being mentors. 

Turban and Dougherty (1994) also found no differences in their sample of 
proteges in business (74 men, 73 women) in the probability that they would seek out and 
develop a mentoring relationship or in the amount of mentoring they received. In their 
study of 135 female and 59 male 3rd- and 4th-year doctoral students, Hollingsworth and 
Fassinger (2002) found that student gender did not have an effect on the level of research 
mentoring received, on student's research self-efficacy, or on research productivity 
outcomes. Dreher and Ash (1990), studying 147 female and 173 male business school 
graduates, similarly found no gender differences in the outcomes measures of promotions 
received, income, or satisfaction with pay and benefits. 

Trying to explain the differences in the research on gender in mentoring is, 
perhaps, an exercise in futility. There are no clearly identifiable methodological problems 
(e.g., sampling, data acquisition) to which the differences might be attributed. However, 
three patterns seem to emerge. First, the gender of the protege and the gender of the 



50 
mentor appear to influence some of the processes, yet these influences may be a result of 
general socialization patterns in society. For example, the increase in psychosocial 
functions by both female mentors and proteges is consistent with the relational 
stereotypes associated with women. Second, gender effects on outcomes are minimal and 
may also be attributable to social or external issues, such as the relatively lower status 
and power of women (and thus of female mentors and proteges) in academia or industry. 
Finally, both men and women may nonetheless be equally well served by either male or 
female mentors. 
Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, and Other Cultural Factors 

Regarding the impact of ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other cultural factors in 
mentoring the literature is significantly smaller and much newer. In some cases, it has 
little to say at all (Gilbert and Rossman, 1992; Johnson & Huwe, 2003; Wright & Wright, 
1987). In a recent book on succeeding in graduate school, a chapter on graduate student 
couples does not even mention gay or lesbian couples, an increasingly common and 
public relationship arrangement (Pederson & Daniels, 2001. Issues specific to gay, 
lesbian, bisexual, transgendered persons (GLBT) are, however, discussed elsewhere in 
the volume.) In another recent book on mentoring in graduate school (Johnson & Huwe, 
2002), no reference to sexual orientation could be found at all, and attraction between 
mentors and proteges seemed to be of concern only in cross-gendered relationships. 

As with any minority culture or group, concerns vary from blatant discrimination 
to identity development issues. Institutionalized racism continues to have effects on 
persons of color (Atkinson, Morton, & Sue, 1998), and legal discrimination against 



51 
GLBT persons continues in many states (e.g., denying protection against discrimination 
in housing, education, and jobs. Massey & Walfish, 2001). Handicapped persons, older 
persons, international students or employees, and other minorities are all at increased risk 
for experiencing prejudice and discrimination. Finding mentors who are similar or who 
are informed and openly sympathetic can be extremely comforting to a student or 
employee as she or he negotiates, not only the academic or employment tasks common to 
all, but also relevant social and cultural tasks (Hill, Castillo, Ngu, & Pepion, 1999; Lark 
& Croteau, 1998; Redmond, 1990). 

Fortunately, current research suggests that ethnic minorities are receiving 
mentoring at approximately the same rate as Caucasians (Witt, Smith, & Markham, 
2000), and that having an ethnically similar mentor is not related to proteges satisfaction 
with the mentoring or to the benefits reported by doctoral student or novice professional 
proteges (Atkinson, Neville, & Casas, 1991). Atkinson et al., noting that minority 
proteges reported that having a mentor contributed significantly to their academic and 
career success regardless of the mentor's ethnicity, concluded that European- American 
professors and senior professionals can successfully serve as mentors to ethnic minority 
proteges. It should be noted, however, that each individual will have his or her own racial 
identity developmental status (Helms, 1995), which is likely to influence the importance 
of the ethnic similarity of the mentor to the student or novice professional. 

Only two empirical articles (Lark & Croteau, 1998; Niolon, 1998) were found that 
focused on GLBT doctoral students' mentoring experiences. Lark and Croteau looked 
more specifically at the mentoring relationships of 14 GLB counseling psychology 



52 
graduate students and found that when their mentor helped them feel safe and affirmed 
them in their identities, the proteges' had the "energy and freedom" to fully engage the 
work of graduate school. When they did not have this support, when they did not receive 
affirmation and did not feel safe, their energies were tied up with emotional survival, and 
their ability to participate in and gain from the graduate student experience and training 
was severely compromised. Niolon (1998) interviewed nine gay and lesbian graduate 
counseling psychology students and found that they did not have what they would refer to 
as mentoring relationships with faculty, the faculty were not knowledgeable or 
experienced with GLBT issues or concerns, and that they had numerous stressful 
experiences and experienced prejudice and discrimination as gay and lesbian students. 
These students, too, were often expending their energies on emotional survival, instead of 
on graduate training and professional development. 

As is evident, there is much room for additional research on mentoring in diverse 
populations. In terms of ethnic minorities, the research to date is generally positive, 
suggesting that minorities are being mentored and that they are satisfied with the 
mentoring they are receiving. The research regarding GLBT students is not as clear. 
Additional work clearly needs to be done, not only concerning research on mentoring, but 
also on the mentoring and acceptance of the GLBT students themselves (Lark & Croteau, 
1998; Massey & Walfish, 2001). 

Ethical Concerns in the Mentoring Relationship 

Mentoring is, almost by definition, a dual role relationship. The existence of 
multiple overlapping roles in the context of the significant power differentials found in 



53 
the typical mentoring relationship is fertile ground for ethical problems. Boundary 
violations, abuse of authority, sexual harassment, transference issues, stereotypical 
expectations, and other problems are well suited to such contexts. Some fields 
specifically address these concerns in ethics codes. For example, the American 
Psychological Association's ethical guidelines (APA, 2002) specifically prohibits certain 
multiple role relationships for psychologists, such as sexual or exploitative relationships 
with students or those over whom psychologist's have evaluative authority, as well as 
relationships in which there may be a conflict of interest. 

In a survey of graduate students in psychology, Clark, et al. (2000) found that 
11% of proteges reported ethical concerns about their mentors or mentoring relationships. 
These problems included mentor's sexual behaviors and attitudes towards the protege or 
other students in the program, the mentor publishing altered results, offering the protege 
financial incentives to alter results, the mentor having poor boundaries or becoming 
emotionally dependent on the protege, and mentors claiming credit for the protege's 
work. 

Further examples of possible ethical quagmires in mentoring abound (Biaggio, 
Paget, & Chenworth, 1997; Blevins-Knabe, 1992; Johnson & Huwe 2003; Sumprer & 
Walfish, 2001). A mentor might employ a protege on a major grant project, for example, 
and feel pressured to judge the protege's work according to the need to finish the project, 
rather than according to its objective quality. A mentor might characterize a protege's 
work and ideas as their own. A mentor and protege might develop an intimate attraction 
to each other. After all, many mentoring relationships are based on similarities and shared 



54 
interests and often develop into close working relationships. Although proteges often 
assert that they did not feel coerced during the relationship, in retrospect they may see 
that they often were, which undermines their assertions that such relationships were 
consensual (Johnson, 2002). A mentor may "suggest" or "request" favors or behaviors 
that have little to do with the academic or employment tasks, such as delivering things, or 
making coffee. 

Few would contend that dual relationships are avoidable in the mentoring context, 
or that such a thing is necessary (Blevins-Knabe, 1992). Unfortunately, proteges are not 
typically in a position to correct or address ethical concerns. Proteges are not often 
inclined to accuse — publicly or privately — the person who has the most individual power 
over their positions or education. Recommendations to talk to the offender are probably 
more helpful to people who are strong enough in themselves to head off many of these 
concerns in the first place. Additionally, department officials may choose to ignore 
complaints of students for political reasons. If a 30-year senior professor or manager 
denies the validity of a complaint or misrepresents it, no recourse may be available to the 
protege. 

It is argued that at minimum, mentors and proteges need to be educated in areas of 
possible ethical concern, and that they clarify at the beginning of their relationships a 
mutual recognition of the boundaries. Furthermore, mentors must monitor their own 
behaviors with and attitudes towards proteges and accept responsibility for the power that 
they have in the relationships (Biaggio et al., 1997). At the departmental level, it is 
recommended that mentors be monitored for their competence as mentors and that, if 



55 
necessary, they receive supplemental training in the nature of the mentoring relationship 
and in mentoring skills before they are allowed to take on graduate students or novice 
employees (Johnson & Nelson, 1999). 

Introduction to the Method 

As was pointed out, an area of research that has received less attention is that of 
the subjective factors in the mentoring relationship that lead one to characterize it as a 
good relationship. Researchers have explored phases, functions, outcomes, and diversity 
issues, not always with clear success, but have not often turned their attentions to the 
subjective experience of mentoring. While it has been noted that satisfaction with the 
mentoring relationship is significantly predictive of a number of positive outcomes, from 
joining department activities to completing the doctoral degree, little has be done to 
elaborate what subject factors contribute to this satisfaction. 

The purpose of this project, then, is to explore the subjective factors in the 
mentoring relationship. In order to accomplish this task, it will be important to use a 
qualitative method that will allow the emergence of those factors that are construed as 
important by the participants in the relationship. The goal is not to describe form or 
function, but experience. 
Value of Qualitative Research 

The importance of qualitative research methodology in the understanding of 
human interactions has been noted by a number of authors (Giorgi, 1990, 1992; Jacobi, 
1991; Polkinghorn, 1994). The value of qualitative research is found in its ability to tease 
out factors that are subtle, idiographic, and often resistant to direct approach. For 



56 

example, the affective quality of a relationship may not be amenable to conscious 
cognitive processing, and thus may be quite difficult to explore using an operationalized 
survey (i.e., to quantify). And although qualitative research is often construed to be 
preliminary to a presumably more rigorous quantitative confirmatory methodology, some 
theorists recognize the intrinsic value of qualitative research methods in some areas of 
interest (Giorgi, 1990, 1992; Glaser, 1992; Glaser & Strauss, 1967, 1970). As Glaser and 
Strauss noted, "Qualitative research is often the most 'adequate' and 'efficient' method 
for obtaining the type of information required. . . " (1970, p. 289). 

The value of qualitative research has not been overlooked in the research on 
mentoring, both in terms of data acquisition as well as in terms of analysis. Interviews 
and surveys using open-ended questions are common methods of data acquisition, and 
qualitative analyses such as phenomenological, content, and grounded theory have been 
used. The grounded theory approach, for example, incorporates both a methodology and 
a logic that support the value of qualitative research. This approach has been used by a 
number of researchers in the mentoring literature (Kram, 1985; Lark & Croteau, 1998; 
Niolon, 1997). Indeed, grounded theory is an excellent method for exploring the nuances 
and subtleties of the mentoring relationship that are being sought here. 

In grounded theory, as with other paradigms, the researcher begins with a 
question of interest about a particular situation. The goal is to understand what is 
happening (e.g., what people are doing, why they are doing it). What differentiates 
grounded theory is that it is exploratory, rather than confirmatory (Giorgi, 1992). That is, 
it is designed to allow for the relevant factors to emerge from the research situation, 



57 
rather than to seek confirmation of a hypothesis that is mapped onto the situation by the 
investigator. As noted by Corbin and Strauss (1990), "One does not begin with a theory 
and then prove it. Rather, one begins with an area of study, and what is relevant to that 
area is allowed to emerge" (p. 23). 

Even more salient, grounded theory is concerned with developing "substantive 
theory" (Glaser & Strauss, 1970), which is "the formulation of concepts and their 
interrelation into a set of hypotheses for a given substantive area — such as patient care, 
gang behavior, or education — based on research in that area" (p. 288). Thus, the goal is 
not merely to understand what is happening, but also to develop a theory within which to 
situate events. 

Focusing on the emergence of substantive theory, grounded research is also 
differentiated from quantitative methods in how the findings are construed and judged. 
Dick (2002) noted that the two main criteria forjudging the adequacy (vs. validity and 
reliability) of the results of a grounded theory are fit and pragmatism (i.e., that it works, 
and it helps people understand the situation better). Grounded theory does not assert that 
any researcher's conclusions are the only plausible ones, only that if the research is 
carefully carried out, the findings will be sufficiently credible to most readers, and 
adequately and accurately represent the area of interest (Glaser & Strauss, 1970). Nor are 
the categories focused on and elaborated by the researcher the only possible categories of 
interest in the situation. Other factors may be active and interesting, but not all things can 
be attended to in any one project (Glaser, 1992). 



58 
Grounded Theory Methodology 

The grounded theory method is based on a well-developed logic that establishes 
meaningful guidelines for both data acquisition and data analysis. These guidelines, 
described by Glaser and Strauss (1967), provide important support for the 
meaningfulness of the findings and their credibility to the reader. A number of sources 
can be utilized in data collection, including focus groups, existing literature, naturalistic 
observation, informal discussion, and interviews. Interactive interviews, typically using 
open-ended questions and a semi-structured or unstructured format, are common 
approaches (Dick, 2002). The primary advantage is that themes and insights emerge in 
dialectic and can be explored in vivo if the investigator is inclined. Giorgi (1990) notes 
that interviews provide important contextual information for the apprehension of the 
intended meaning of the respondent. Therefore, interviews will be the source of data on 
the mentoring relationship in the present study. 

Although reviewing the literature is a standard process in research and developing 
the research question, the researcher does not follow this approach in grounded theory. In 
fact, Glaser (1992) clearly stated, "There is a need not to review any of the literature in 
the substantive area under study" (p. 31; emphasis added). The purpose of not reviewing 
the literature is to avoid biasing the researcher by unnecessarily creating a priori 
cognitive structures regarding the area of interest. Similarly, grounded theory recognizes 
explicitly the subjective factor introduced by the interpretive and inductive nature of the 
analytic procedure. Although this is one of the great strengths of qualitative research, it 
also necessarily entails the introduction of an uncontrolled variance in the outcomes (i.e., 



59 

already existing cognitive structures). Unlike phenomenology, which asks researchers to 
withhold personal perspectives and biases, grounded theory asserts that this is neither 
necessary, nor likely possible. Grounded theory instead presents a brief description of the 
researcher — much as a description of any other instrument — so that readers can ascertain 
for themselves the influence of the researcher on the theory presented. Note that the 
purpose is not to determine the validity of the findings, per se, but their context and 
credibility. 

Insofar as a central feature of grounded theory is the data-driven nature of the 
methodology, it is difficult to specify exactly the number of participants who will be 
interviewed. Grounded theory requires that the data sets (indicated in this case as the 
number of interviews and/or participants) be augmented until the categories are saturated; 
that is, until no further information is being gleaned from additional data sets (Dick, 
2002; Glaser, 1967; Rennie, Phillips, & Quartaro, 1988). In general, the criterion for 
selection follows two steps. First, there is a focus on discovering the core features of the 
phenomenon of interest, which is accomplished by interviewing persons who both 
represent the phenomena and who are similar to each other in some relevant way. 

The second step is to introduce variability into the data set in order to sample 
exceptions to the emerging theoretical hypotheses (theory-based sampling, rather than 
random sampling) and thus strengthen the generalizability of the emerging theory. This is 
accomplished by interviewing participants who are somehow dissimilar from the 
previous participants, or who do not represent the topic in the same way. In analogous 
quantitative terms, this procedure provides data both within and between. 



60 
Having said this, the literature regarding this general type of qualitative research, 
sparse though it is in this specific topic area, would seem to suggest that about five 
interviews are preliminarily indicated for a given question, as saturation typically occurs 
after analyzing 5 to 10 data sets (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Rennie, Phillips, & Quartaro, 
1988). Based upon the foregoing considerations, the present study will include interviews 
conducted with four to five individuals in each of the following three categories: (a) 
highly rated faculty mentors, (b) satisfied graduate student proteges, and (c) dissatisfied 
graduate student proteges. 

Analysis in grounded theory methodology is a multi-step process and is highly 
labor intensive. Analysis begins as soon as the interviews begin and continues throughout 
the study. As the interviewer begins to interact with the data presented by participants, 
hypotheses and themes are already being developed and tested. This continues after each 
interview as the researcher again reviews the data looking for themes and categories. As 
each interview is conducted, themes from previous interviews are kept in mind, and 
hypotheses are tested between participants as well as within each interview. This is 
referred to as constant comparison, and is central to the method. The value of constant 
comparison is that the perceptions and developing interpretations of the researcher are 
constantly checked against the data, thus interfering with the development of 
misconceptions and ungrounded assumptions. 

The first step in the formal analysis, open coding, is a process in which each unit 
of analysis is independently evaluated for possible meanings. What stands for a unit of 
analysis is flexible, but once defined by the researcher remains consistent throughout 



61 
open coding. Glaser and Strauss (1967) recommend that each line of a transcript be 
considered a unit, whereas Rennie et al. (1988) prefer to delineate the data according to 
coherent meaning units , an option that will also be used in this project. Each meaning 
unit is evaluated and categorized or labeled according to the concepts embedded in the 
data. This process is referred to as open coding because there are a priori neither 
theoretical nor procedural limits on the categories or meanings that may be established. 

To clarify, data is reviewed word-by-word and line-by-line in order to delineate 
sections that cohere semantically, yet are distinguishable from the surrounding material. 
Each of these delineated sections (i.e., meaning units ) is labeled according to whatever 
semantic content it was that caused the researcher to be able to isolate the semantic unit 
(i.e., the concept). At this stage, concept generation is to be descriptive, thus the labels 
should use language representative of the language used by the interviewees. These 
concept labels are established as categories, and the meaning units themselves are 
established as exemplars of the category. Any time a meaning unit is evaluated (in any 
data set) that can be labeled similarly to an existing category, it will be placed in that 
category (i.e., be given the same label). 

As the open coding process continues, each newly evaluated meaning unit is 
assigned to as many of the existing categories as possible. If no category exists that 
represents the meaning embedded in the data, a new category is established. Ultimately, 
some finite set of categories will emerge that adequately represent the data, and 
additional meaning units will no longer require the development of new categories or 
labels, which is a condition known as saturation . 



62 
Throughout the data analysis, the researcher's hunches and theoretical notions are 
recorded separately from the data and from the categorizations, a process referred to as 
memoing . These memoranda allow the researcher to record for later consideration 
hypotheses, notions, and ideas that emerge during the analysis, and at the same time are 
designed to reduce drift away from grounding in the data by making explicit the 
researcher's perspectives. 

Axial coding , the second step of the analysis, is a process in which the developed 
categories are individually examined in order to more fully elaborate their content and 
meaning in the researchers mind. At the same time, the contents are compared and 
evaluated between categories and their exemplars for differences and similarities. The 
goal is to develop a second level of abstraction that more fully integrates the data, finding 
connections between categories and concepts. Some of the emergent higher-level 
categories will be linked to a greater number of subordinate categories and concepts, 
resulting in a hierarchical integration of the data as more concepts derived directly from 
the data are subsumed by fewer core categories. Categories that have few or no links are 
either collapsed into other categories or dropped altogether. 

The final step in the analysis, selective coding , occurs when the researcher 
evaluates the data in search of the most central or core category, one that would subsume 
all the others in a coherent and parsimonious structure. This would be the category most 
related to others and is typically very well defined by the structure. Glaser and Strauss 
(1967, 1978) suggest that once a core category is defined, no further open coding is done 
for any data not subsumable by the category (thus, selective coding). Is essence, although 



63 

other data are certainly present and may be of interest, they are distractions from the 
emerging focus in any given project. Glaser and Strauss (1967) note that the unused data 
could be used for another paper if desired, thus further representing the focused nature of 
the method. 

In summary, coherent units of meaning within the data are identified and labeled 
according to the conceptual term by which they were identified. The meaning units and 
concepts are then evaluated and compared unit with unit and unit with concept to see if 
more categories emerge. If there are similarities and/or differences among them that lend 
themselves to a hierarchical ordering, some of the categories will subsume some of the 
others, and some will be subsumed. This structure, which can be multi-leveled, will be 
further evaluated to see is there is some category that is sufficiently well distributed and 
linked so as to represent a core or central category that might subsume all the others. 
Once the analysis is complete, the researcher should have a well-delineated and strongly 
empirically grounded model of the phenomenon under investigation. This structure can, 
if desired, be subjected to a verification process using more traditional experimental 
methods as it provides the a priori structure necessary for deductive hypotheses. 
Verification, however, is not advocated by grounded theory practitioners and may even 
diminish the value of the findings through operationalization and reification (Glaser, 
1992). 

Other researchers have explored the costs and benefits of being a mentor (e.g., 
Ragins & Scandura, 1999), the contribution of personality factors to the quality and 
effectiveness of the mentoring relationship (e.g., Turban & Dougherty, 1994), and the 



64 
variance introduced into outcomes based on whether the relationship is voluntary or 
assigned (e.g., Chao, Walz, & Gardner, 1992). 



CHAPTER 3 
METHOD 

Participants 

Thirteen individuals were interviewed for this research: four award winning 
mentors, five satisfied proteges, and four dissatisfied proteges. Three of the mentors were 
men, and one was a woman. One of the male mentors was a distinguished professor of 
psychology, one was associate dean of the graduate school and professor of psychology, 
the third male mentor was a professor of reproductive physiology and biology, and the 
female mentor was a professor of pharmacology and toxicology. These mentors were 
solicited at two major universities from among those who had been conferred mentoring 
awards, as determined by a search of the web sites of the two institutions. 

Satisfied proteges were identified by asking the interviewed mentors to provide 
the names of students they had mentored, or by word of mouth. Two of the satisfied 
proteges were men, and three were women. One woman was in her final year of seeking 
her doctorate in clinical psychology. The second woman was 5th-year student seeking a 
doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology, and the third woman was in her 4th year of 
work toward doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology. One of the men had completed 
his doctorate in developmental psychology, and the other man was a 2nd-year student in 
a doctoral program in clinical psychology. 



65 



66 

Dissatisfied proteges were identified by e-mailing graduate student organization 
leaders and asking for word-of-mouth recommendations of students who were not happy 
with the mentoring or advising they had received. Two participants were men and two 
were women. The first woman was seeking a doctorate in ethno-botany, but decided to 
leave with a master's degree, in part because of the extremely poor support she received. 
The second woman had intended to work towards a doctoral degree in cultural 
anthropology, but also was leaving her program due to lack of support. One man had 
completed his doctorate in child psychology, and another will complete his doctorate in 
clinical psychology this year. 

Each potential participant was contacted by e-mail by the researcher and offered 
the opportunity to participate in the research. In no case were mentors made aware of 
which, if any, of their proteges were solicited or interviewed. All participants were fully 
apprised of the research questions and procedure, and were given the opportunity to 
decline or withdraw from participation at any time. Informed consent was obtained, and a 
copy was given to each participant (Appendix A). 

The Researcher 

An important feature of the grounded theory method is the explicit recognition 
that the researcher is the primary research instrument and that the personal characteristics 
and history of the researcher will impact the interpretation of the data and the 
development of the theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). It is 
recommended, therefore, that the researcher provide information regarding his or her own 
history to facilitate the reader's evaluations of the validity and generalizability of the 



67 
findings, which are necessarily shaped by the characteristics of the researcher. This is in 
contrast to a phenomenological method, in which the researcher attempts to "bracket" or 
withhold the influence of her or his biases (see Giorgi 1990, 1992). 

I am 45-year-old man in a counseling psychology doctoral program. I consider 
psychology to be my third career. My first career was in the electronics industry, where I 
spent 1 5 years as an electronics technician and then as a middle level manager. My 
second career was as a foster parent. In addition to raising our own three daughters, my 
wife and I cared for 30 medically and therapeutically needy foster children (mostly 
infants and young girls) over an 8-year period. These experiences have likely altered my 
perspectives from what might be expected from someone who had never raised children 
or from someone who had gone straight through school into their doctoral program. 

My status as a doctoral student in psychology not only will affect my thoughts 
and interpretations, but also in a few cases was noted by the interviewees. As a doctoral 
student, there was a strong commonality with the proteges, who were going through the 
same process, and seeking many of the same things in their careers and lives. Some of the 
interviewees appeared to be influenced by my status as a student in psychology (e.g., the 
myth that psychologists have some sort of "secret knowledge" about people and behavior 
seemed to appear with some of the participants). Certainly, being a student of psychology 
provides me with a framework that will bias my perceptions and interpretations. In that 
psychology is uniquely suited to explore relationships, however, this bias might better be 
construed as an advantage rather than as a negative influence. 



68 
My age and gender likely also played a role in the interactions with some of the 
participants, as well as in my self-perceptions and presentations. For example, it was 
perhaps easier for me to develop rapport with the mentors than a younger interviewer. 
My life experience also appeared to facilitate the interaction, as topics less focused on 
mentoring often arose as I worked to develop this rapport. Whether the interviewees were 
more open with me than they might have been with a younger person is open to question, 
but seems plausible. My age may have had an influence on the younger proteges that 
were interviewed, especially as they knew little about me except that I was a graduate 
student. The international student protege, a young woman from Thailand, may have 
been more strongly influenced by her cultural deference to older males in positions of 
authority (this was briefly discussed in reference to her mentor, who was also an older 
male). 

As a student, I consider that I have been positively mentored by four different 
people. Each of these has had significantly different styles as well as influences on me, 
from extensive personal support to technical and research mentoring to a more detached 
but safe-base style of support. Each was important to my success and survival in their 
own way. Prior to being a student, during my years in business and as a parent, I was also 
well mentored. A variety of people fulfilled this role in my life, but none with the focus 
on the task as I have experienced as a student. I have also been poorly mentored, both as 
a student and in business, by individuals who appeared to be indifferent to my training, 
educational, or personal needs, and who might reasonably have been expected to have an 
obligation to meet those needs. Given these experiences, I was able to draw on personal 



69 
experience when interacting with both satisfied and dissatisfied proteges. Having had 
both experiences, however, may have helped prevent an excessive bias in either direction. 

There are other factors not noted here, no doubt some of which I am unaware. The 
foregoing is provided so that the reader might have some basic information about one of 
the critical instruments used in this research. As noted by Glaser and Strauss (1967), "The 
root source of all significant theorizing is the sensitive insights of the observer himself." 
(p. 251) 

Procedure 

This section will describe the various aspects of the grounded theory procedures 
utilized in the present study. It will include discussion of data acquisition and data 
analysis. 
Data Acquisition 

Each of the participants was interviewed by the researcher in a private milieu. 
The focus of the interviews was to learn what factors contribute to the qualification of the 
mentoring relationship as "good." Although participants were asked to describe or define 
"good mentoring," the problem of definition discussed earlier was not addressed. If a 
mentoring relationship was asserted, the assertion was accepted at face value. The 
question of interest in this project, as noted, was to differentiate a "good" relationship, 
not, for example, mentored vs. non-mentored, or formal vs. informal mentoring. 

The semi-structured interview began with a selection of open-ended questions 
designed to both create a comfortable atmosphere for the discourse, as well as to facilitate 
and direct the conversation towards the topic of interest. The questions focused on the 



70 
mentoring relationship and process, yet were exploratory and elicitory. Again, neither 
"mentoring" nor "good" were defined for the participants, who were all able to easily 
identify someone who was, or should have been, their mentor. The following are some of 
the questions used to initiate the discussions: 

1 . How would define good mentoring relationship? 

2. What might be some characteristics of a good mentor? 

3. What could [the mentor] have done to make it work better for you? 

4. What kinds of things made the relationship "work" for you? 

5. What are some of the things that make a lousy mentor? 

As the interviews proceeded, thoughts and insights occurred to the researcher 
regarding potential emergent themes in the reports of the participants. Tentative 
hypotheses were developed, which guided the formulation of additional questions, as 
attempts were made to confirm or disconfirm these insights. Examples of further 
enquires, then, followed the following form: 

1 . How does that make you feel? 

2. Is it a part of the mentors job to . . .? 

3. What do you think that gets you at a psychological level? 

4. How does it feel to have a mentor that you believe in that way. . .? 

5. Why is that important to you? 

Interviews were continued until both interviewer and interviewee appeared to have 
exhausted the topic. Interviews typically lasted between 60 and 90 minutes. 



71 
Although researchers who specialize in grounded theory methodology 
recommend against taping or taking notes during an interview (Dick, 2002), taping, note 
taking, and transcribing were used in the present study to facilitate the development and 
understanding of the data and to allow the researcher review the data if there were 
questions or ambiguities in his theory construction. All interviews were thus audio taped. 
As the researcher became increasing familiar with the material appearing in the 
interviews, cognizant of the major themes, and aware of the significant consistency of the 
reports between all of the participants, it was decided that it was unnecessary to 
additionally transcribe all of the interviews, and the recordings and thematic notes taken 
during the remaining interviews were relied upon. Thus, eight interviews were 
transcribed onto hard copy: all four mentors, three satisfied proteges, and one dissatisfied 
protege. Partial samples of transcripts are available in the appendices (Appendices B, C, 
and D). 
Data Analysis 

Analysis was carried out using the grounded theory procedures described earlier. 
During each interview, key notes were taken, and developing hypotheses were tested. 
Following each interview these notes were reevaluated and additional insights were 
noted. Memoranda were written containing possible categories and other theoretical 
observations. As each interview was conducted, themes and ideas from previous 
interviews and analyses were kept in mind and explored using the method of constant 
comparison. 



72 
As noted, in the present study, the interviews with all four mentors (who were 
interviewed first), the first three satisfied proteges, and one dissatisfied protege were 
transcribed to facilitate this process. The interviews were gone over line-by-line and 
subjected to a formal coding process. The first step, open coding, was conducted by the 
researcher by going over the transcripts line by line while looking for coherent meaning 
units; that is, sections that cohere semantically, and yet are distinguishable from the 
surrounding material. (In later interviews, key notes taken during the interviews and 
reviewing of the audio tapes replaced full transcription and review.) These "pieces of 
semantic coherence" can be labeled using a single descriptive word or phrase, which may 
then be referred to as concepts. Each meaning unit, then, was evaluated and labeled 
according to the concepts embedded in the data (see Appendix E for an example. Note 
that there were at least two iterations of open coding when using transcripts, both on the 
transcript as well as on separate note cards. Thus, the sample in the appendix is reduced 
and clarified for readability). The concept labels used were chosen not only to reflect the 
semantic content, but as much as possible the actual words used by the participant. 

These concept labels were established as categories, which were a higher level of 
abstraction of the units themselves, the meaning units being exemplars of the category. 
Subsequently, any time a meaning unit was evaluated (in any data set) that could be 
labeled similarly to an existing meaning unit, it was placed in that category (i.e., be given 
the same concept label). As the open coding process continued, each newly evaluated 
meaning unit was assigned to as many of the existing categories as possible. If no 
category existed that represented the meaning embedded in the data, a new category was 



73 
established. Ultimately, a finite set of categories emerged that adequately represent the 
data, and no further open coding was carried out. When this occurs, it is said that the 
category is saturated, and selective coding begins (see below). 

Axial coding, the second step of the analysis, is a process in which the developed 
concepts are individually examined in order to more fully elaborate their content and 
meaning in the researchers mind. At the same time, the concepts and their exemplars are 
compared and evaluated for differences and similarities. The goal is to develop a second 
or higher level of abstraction that more fully integrates the data, finding connections 
between categories and concepts. 

Axial coding was carried out following the procedure delineated by Rennie and 
Brewer (1987). All open coding, whether from transcripts or tapes, was carried out using 
3X5 cards on which the concepts and representative citations from the data (interviews) 
were written. Over one thousand cards were produced in this project. Axial coding was 
carried out by placing the cards in columns on a large table according to the meaning or 
concept represented. Thus, common concepts, or categories, were represented by the 
different columns of cards. As the concepts and their exemplars were compared and 
evaluated for differences and similarities, superordinate categories emerged and were 
developed, and cards labeling these higher-level categories were placed across the top of 
the table. (Again, the concept of semantic factor analysis was found helpful in 
conceptualizing the process.) Note that memoranda were also recorded on 3 X 5 cards, 
but were not included in the sorting process. Memoranda were, however, referred to in 
the structuring of the data and the development of superordinate categories. Numerous 



74 
different organizations of the cards were tried before the one selected was settled on as 
having the greatest fit and being most representative of the data. 

The final step in the analytic process, selective coding, occurs when the researcher 
evaluates the data in search of the most central or core category, one that would subsume 
all the others in a coherent and parsimonious structure. This was accomplished using the 
process described above. As the researcher continued to reexamine the concepts and 
categories as well as the emergent hierarchical structure, it became possible to recognize 
a common feature that was linked to all the existing categories, and was also a factor 
within all of the categories. This factor, positive affect , became the core category of the 
analysis, and provided the central organizing principle and discovery of this research. 
Again, as with axial coding, a number of possibilities were considered and discarded 
before the final selection was confirmed as being most adequate and having the greatest 
fit with the data. 

In summary, the data (transcripts) were broken down into coherent units of 
meaning, which were labeled roughly according to the concept by which they were 
identified. Then, these labels and the units they represent were evaluated and compared to 
see if there were similarities and/or differences among them that lent themselves to a 
hierarchical ordering, such that some of the categories subsumed some of the others, and 
some were subsumed. This structure, once derived, was further evaluated to see if there 
was some category that was sufficiently well distributed and linked so as to represent a 
core or central category that might subsume all the others. It was found that there was: 



75 
positive affect. The core category of positive affect and its subordinate categories will be 
fully elaborated in the next section. 



CHAPTER 4 
RESULTS 



Four mentors (M), five satisfied proteges (SP), and four dissatisfied proteges 
(DP), were interviewed for the present study. The purpose of the interviews was to 
uncover factors that might contribute to the qualification of a mentoring relationship as 
"good." Neither the term good nor the term mentoring were defined for the interviewees. 
All protege participants were able to identify a person or persons whom they considered 
as a mentor or, in the case of the DPs, a person whom they expected would mentor them 
and did not do so satisfactorily. All Ms were identified in advance by virtue of their 
having received mentoring awards. 

The contents of the interviews were analyzed using the previously described 
grounded theory inductive procedure. All interviews were included in the analysis. There 
was very high consistency across all participants, including DPs, in terms of those aspects 
that would qualify as central to the goodness of the relationship. The factors selected for 
inclusion in this section emerged very early in the interviewing process, continued to 
appear in virtually every data set, and subsequently represented the central themes 
derived in the analysis. 

As the data were analyzed, a central feature of the defining characteristics of a 
good mentoring relationship appeared to be the affective nature of the relationship. That 
is, when discussing what they thought defined a good mentoring relationship, the most 
frequently reported features were related to participants' positive feelings about certain 

76 



77 
aspects of their relationships. Since good was not defined for the participants, the focus 
on these specific affective aspects of the relationship, rather than the structure or 
mechanics of mentoring relationships, was emergent and indicative of the interviewees' 
own priorities. Thus, the themes that emerged and the resulting categories of the derived 
structure are subsumed under the core category of Positive Affect. 

Participants also discussed a wide variety of other factors. Some of these factors 
were subsumable into the core or second-level categories. If they were not subsumable 
and they could not stand alone due to their relative infrequency, then they were dropped 
from the analysis to limit the focus on a single core category as recommended when 
using the grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). 

As the core category of the analysis, positive affect defines the features most 
relevant to the evaluation of the mentoring relationship as "good," as presented by 
participants. Five second-level categories identified within the core category of positive 
affect were as follows: (a) feeling respected, (b) feeling valued, (c) feeling safe, (d) 
feelings of belonging, and (e) feelings of increasing competence (See Table 1). These 
categories are themselves reductions from third-level categories (i.e., themes) that were 
derived directly from the data, and each describes areas in which positive affect was 
highly salient to the participants. Each of these categories and themes will be discussed, 
describing in detail the feelings themselves, ways the feelings are engendered or hindered 
in the relationship, and positive correlates of the feelings. 



78 



Table 1 . Affective Characteristics of a Good Mentoring Relationship 



Core Category 



Second Level Categories Fundamental Concepts/ Themes 



Positive Affect 



Feeling Respected 

Feeling Valued 
Feeling Safe 



Feelings of Belonging and 
Community 

Feelings of Increasing 
Competence 



Respect of person 
Respect of person's right to self- 
determination 

Availability 
Time and effort 

Not experiencing rejection 
Receiving affirmation and 

encouragement. 
Trust 



Clarifying expectations 
Following appropriate 

developmental course 
Increasing autonomy 



Feeling Respected 

The importance of respect (i.e., proteges' feelings of being respected by their 
mentors) was noted by all three sets of participants. However, Ms and DPs drew attention 
to it most frequently as of critical importance to a good mentoring relationship. SPs 
mentioned the importance of feeling respected by their mentors, but much less frequently 
than did the other two groups. This may be attributed to a slight difference in the salience 
of certain characteristics to the different groups. 

Respect seems to have been construed primarily in one of two ways. First, respect 
of a person was based on the individual's belief in another's intrinsic worth as a human 
being. This could be illustrated by the common admonition to treat people with simple 



79 

respect and courtesy. This character of respect was also mentioned more frequently by 

Ms and DPs. A second meaning for respect that appeared to be salient was the respect of 

a person's freedom and self-determination. This suggests an additional level of respect 

maintained towards people's right to choose for themselves what they would like to do, 

accomplish, or become. This concept was discussed by the majority of participants in all 

three groups, but was most frequently discussed by the mentors. 

Respect of Persons 

Although all three groups of participants made references to the need for a 

fundamental respect of the other in the relationship, DPs repeatedly emphasized the lack 

of basic respect as a centrally important feature in their dissatisfaction with their 

mentoring relationships. One DP placed basic respect at the top of her list of what she 

wished she could have received from her mentor. She stated that although mentors 

expected to be treated with respect, they often did not treat proteges or students with 

respect. Sometimes this emphasis on the lack of respect became quite emphatic, as 

illustrated by the following example. 

Interviewer: Why would he introduce you to people and brag about you? 
DP3: Oh, because it reflects on him. That's what a graduate advisor is for, isn't it? 
"Look, I have this. . .scholar who wants to work with me! I'm a cool person!" 
And that's fine. I mean I totally understand that they're under a lot of pressure. 
They have things they need. A grad student is cheap labor for them, who you 
want to keep working for you as long as you can, because then they leave and you 
have to train somebody new. I totally understand that it has to be a relationship 
where they're getting something as well as you getting something. But it has to be 
somewhat equal. I mean, both people do have to get something out of it. I mean, 
there are rules in this relationship. . . 
Interviewer: What are the rules? 

DP3: Well, you know, a professor wants to take on a student so that they have 
glory, and their work getting done, and papers written with their names on it. . . 



80 
Proteges noted that when their mentors failed to treat them with respect, they felt 
disconnected, lost interest in their work, and frequently decided that if respect was not 
forthcoming, neither would it be given. As can be imagined, this can lead to further 
difficulties. One protege stated that she had been "offered assistance to leave the 
program." Typically these failures of respect manifested as not acknowledging or 
attending to a protege's conversation; demeaning, condescending, or insulting behaviors 
or comments; or failing to keep promises. 

Satisfied proteges, however, mentioned basic respect only in general terms. 
Having already received this kind of respect from their mentors as a function of the 
quality of the relationship, it did not appear to be salient during the interview. Mentors 
also tended to gloss over this form of respect perhaps because they also considered it to 
be a given in the relationship. However, all four mentors stated they considered it an 
honor to have been sought out by students. 

The SP who was an international student described differences in cultural norms 
regarding respect of persons. In her Asian culture, expectations of respect for elders or 
culturally defined superiors (e.g., men, professors) are much stronger, and one never 
criticizes or speaks freely with one to whom respect is due. She stated that students are 
not considered to be equal to their professors. Students neither expect a mentor to stop 
and talk to them, nor do students feel offended or unimportant when they do not. She 
recalled being extremely and pleasantly surprised by her American mentor's openness 
and willingness to engage with her in conversation at any time. She noted that although 
she was not equal in status, neither did she feel inferior. 



81 

Although the consensus was that proteges a priori deserve respect, all mentors 

noted its limits. As one mentor in the pharmaceutical field commented, although students 

deserve respect, there are firm boundaries of acceptable behavior, especially considering 

the potential health risks inherent in the field. Students are expected to take responsibility 

for their education seriously and to behave as professionals. 

Respect of a Person's Right to Self-Determination 

The critical aspect of this theme is that a good mentoring relationship is 

characterized by the mentor's focus on and commitment to facilitating the goals and 

plans of the protege. The emphasis is so asymmetrical in favor of the protege that it 

almost reaches the level that the needs and desires of the mentor are of little consequence. 

As one mentor noted, 

They are really the ones that count in the long run. . . . Yes, my goals will be 
realized if they do their jobs, but it's more than that in the sense of who they are 
and where they're going. It's really important. 

This focus on supporting the goals of the protege was universal, and was focused 

most strongly and repetitively by the mentors. In describing a mentoring relationship, 

another mentor noted, 

First and foremost I think it's a commitment to somebody else's career. So, when 
somebody comes in and says they'd like to study — I'd like to study with you — 
and I'm a lucky person in that I have marginal visibility nationally so that people 
will apply to work with me. I'm lucky. I don't say I deserve that. It's an honor. 
First, to have that happen. Second, it's a responsibility because to me it implies a 
ton of obligation that the applicant probably doesn't realize. ... So, I have to 
know what they're interested in. I have to know what they want to do. My 
favorite question to people is "Tell me what your life looks like 5 years from 
now." Once we know that, then we craft the next 5 years or plan for the next 2 or 
3 years to get you there. 



82 

Mentors stated their belief that all students are unique and that the central task of 

a mentor is to uncover the natural talent of the individual student, to nurture their native 

excellence and passion. Mentors repeatedly noted that it is not their task to determine 

what a protege should be doing with her or his life or career; rather the mentor's task is to 

support the growth and development of the protege in the direction the protege has 

chosen. As M3 indicated, the goal is to develop the students in regard to their own 

interests and talents, not to "make mini copies of yourself." He continued, 

It's a wonderfully freeing, I think, experience [for proteges] to realize that you 
can pursue that for which you have talent and interest, and can mold a life around 
it. ... I once heard that 98% of Americans get up in the morning, go to work and 
dread that, and I can't imagine that day after day after day. This is why I think 
some graduate students don't like graduate school. I would wish that 100% of 
people could follow their own talents and inclinations. 

Satisfied proteges also seemed to be most enamored of their mentors' focusing on 
the protege's desires and goals. One of M3's proteges, SP1, was also interviewed, and 
stated that "a mentor is a guide who facilitates your reaching your goals, not you reaching 
their goals." He said of M3 that whatever area you were interested in as a M3's protege — 
academics, practice, research — M3 would "provide you with as many opportunities and 
as much guidance as you need or want." SP1 noted that he feels empowered and excited 
by this kind of support because he believes he will be successful in the area he has 
chosen. 

There are limits and qualifications to this support, however, as is indicated in the 
following exchange with M2. 

M2: I've tried to find what they're interested in. And I try to give them that a little 

bit. . . . 

Interviewer: So, it would be kind of like finding out what the individual student's 



83 

interests or passions are and then trying to feed that, to facilitate that? 
M2: As best I can! Now, I can't just let them totally run my program, but I'm 
more than willing to. . . I mean, I have enough flexibility in my program that I can 
try to meet their particular needs, once I'm sure there's a passion for it. . . . 

M3 concurred, stating, "I just can't supervise any old thing that they come up 
with. ..." Ml noted that if he doesn't know the area that a student wants to pursue, or the 
student declines to take his advice or recommendations, then he can't do all the things 
that he would normally do for a protege. The student must then take responsibility to find 
ways to make up the lack. 

Feeling Valued by or Important to the Mentor 

Feeling valued by or important to the mentor is closely aligned with respect. 
However, feeling valued can be distinguished from basic respect in that basic respect is a 
priori and due all people. Value and importance, on the other hand, refer to the particular 
person. Although a mentor may fundamentally respect all graduate students, a mentor 
should hold a special value for his or her proteges. ( Should refers not to an ethical 
imperative, but is an ontological indicative. I.e., a characteristic of a "good" mentoring 
relationship, as described by participants in this study, is that the mentor does in fact 
value the protege). 

The salient factor here is that the protege feels that her or his unique identity is 
being validated in the relationship with their mentor. The protege is not merely another 
unit (interchangeable with any other unit) in a long series of onerous obligations with 
which a faculty member is tasked by the nature of the job, nor is the protege merely a 
means to the mentor's ends; rather the mentor actually has an interest in this particular 
person. This interest manifests in demonstrable, tangible ways that are observable by the 



84 
protege, and that she or he can internalize as self-worth and value. In this case, the 
protege could say, "If this important, high status person thinks I'm important, then maybe 
I'm okay." 

Participants experienced feeling valued by the practical demonstrations of their 
mentors' (a) availability and (b) time and effort. Through these two modes the protege 
became aware of the mentor's feelings about her or him; proteges' also construed these as 
signals of the positive or negative quality of the relationship and of the self. 
Availability 

Availability was perhaps the most frequently noted quality in all of the data. 
Mentors, satisfied proteges, and dissatisfied proteges all indicated that the mentor's 
availability to proteges is sine qua non of good mentoring. Even in discussing 
relationships that had little or no interpersonal components, availability was considered to 
be critical. If the mentor was not available, there was, in fact, no mentor. 

Availability can be understood in terms of psychological availability or physical 
availability. While physical availability was mentioned numerous times, it was not 
typically considered a significant factor in the quality of the relationship. All good 
mentors were physically available to their proteges at some level — some spent several 
hours a day with them in various contexts. What was repeatedly noted, however, was the 
importance of the mentor being psychologically available. That is, graduate students felt 
valued and important when their mentors responded when they were talked to, when the 
response was relevant and helpful, when the mentor stopped what they were doing when 
the protege wanted to talk to them about a problem (or when there was not a problem), 



85 

when the mentor was interested in the proteges concerns or needs, when the mentor was 

willing to talk on the phone from home with the protege, or even if the mentor would 

merely use e-mail to communicate. 

In response to the opening question on how he would define good mentoring, SP3 

said ". . . to be available is the most basic. To be able to be there, to be willing to be there, 

to talk about your interests." M3 noted that one of the central characteristics he respected 

in other good mentors he knew was "The ability to take time and listen fully to another 

person's story." SP4, the student from Asia, noted that her mentor was always available 

to her and that it made her feel important and valued. She further noted that her peers 

with less available and open mentors were not happy, and did not feel very important to 

their mentors. SP5 relayed a story that exemplifies availability and its effect on the 

protege. 

... He was one of the people on the committee for my paper. He was actually — 
this is kinda cool — he was actually on vacation in January when I emailed him 
and told him "Here's where I am, here's my outline. I've kind of revised it from 
what we talked about last time." He emailed me back and said, "Actually, we're 
on vacation. We're in Minnesota." He told me a little bit about the weather; it was 
freezing, they were fortunate enough to arrive in the middle of a snowstorm, da da 
da da da. . . and, [he continued] "You know, I like what you're doing here. Our 
host actually happens to know something about the subject, and he suggests that 

you check out such and such "I get this back — the guy's on vacation. . . and 

he's talking about my project to his friend. . . and giving me feedback while he's 
on vacation! I'm like, do I feel important? Do I feel valued? Well, yeah! 

Dissatisfied proteges also had much to say about availability, or, in their case, 

their mentor's unavailability. DP2 noted that she is on her second mentor/advisor; 

unfortunately, the second, like the first, is not available either— physically or 

psychologically. In fact, noted DP2, students have to sign up on a sheet on this 



86 
"mentor's" door to get an appointment — she dispenses her time in 15-minute 
increments — whether they are an undergrad student or one of her grad students. DP2 
commented that "there needs to be someone you can know that is going to answer back, 
or you can touch base with, who can give you some direction, that you can talk to. . . ." 
She continued that the thing that both her mentors could have done was to simply be 
available. DP3 indicated that if she had a question about requirements, about classes, 
about where to find the bathroom, her mentor would tell her to go ask another grad 
student. According to DP3, her mentor also waxed philosophical in her presence about 
whether he should be hiring technicians rather than grad students, since technicians didn't 
want other things in addition to the job. 
Time and Effort 

Availability is a fairly passive concept, in that the mentor is being responsive to 
the immediate needs of the protege. The character of time and effort as a marker of value 
and importance is found in a mentor's activity or proactivity on the protege's behalf. The 
mentor demonstrates her or his valuation of the protege by the concrete investment of 
limited time and energy resources to the development and progress of the protege 
towards her or his goals. An important aspect of this factor is that the mentoring 
relationship is not defined in terms of supply and demand; although there are lots of grad 
students out there, there is only one "in front of you." The protege's value to their mentor 
is apparent to all, especially the protege, in the mentor's investment of time and energy. 
This valuation will also be internalized and considered by the protege in their valuation of 
themselves. 



87 

The investment of time and effort was spoken of by the mentors mostly in terms 

of the necessity of recognizing the level of commitment in these areas that is inherent in 

deciding to take on grad students or proteges. All of the mentors noted this aspect of the 

relationship, and expressed not only willingness, but also enthusiasm. Ml noted that he 

felt that if students were going to come work with him, that he owed them his time and 

effort and attention, and that he was happy to provide it. Ml 's protege, SP3, said 

. . . The fact that Ml would be willing to pass back and forth the draft three times, 
was something that, as I've talked with other people, they didn't have that, and 
that goes back to the first thing, about being there and to be willing to give time 
for you. 

When asked for his definition of a good mentor, M2 said that a good mentor was 

a person that's going to take the time to spend with students on a daily basis and try to 

develop them to their maximum potential. . . and it takes a lot of time." Later in our 

interview, in the context of a discussion of how many grad students some mentors take 

on, he said, 

I have other colleagues that take ten or twelve students at a time, and I just can't 
do that. So I've asked myself, 'what is it that precludes me from doing that?' And 
I've come to the conclusion that I spend a lot more time with individual students, 
mentoring them. ... I put enough priority on trying to mentor and develop 
individuals that I can only do so many at a time. . . 

The other mentors reiterated this sentiment. 

A partial list of other demonstrations of time and effort commitment by mentors 

for their proteges reported by participants include writing a six or seven-page, single 

spaced recommendation letters "in which I really tell a heartfelt story about that student" 

(M3); paying for the protege's attendance at conferences, and not only helping them set 

up their presentations, but staying with them during the entire display time, and 



88 
introducing them to important people that come by; going to the lab every day and 
seeking them out to see how they're doing; finishing necessary paperwork on time; 
always knowing what the protege is doing, and making sure that the protege is on time 
and on track regarding department and degree requirements; helping them negotiate 
personal concerns, such as balancing work and family, so that they can remain in the 
program and focused on their work; reading materials provided by the protege in the 
protege's area in order to keep up with the research in that area; and calling people to 
promote the protege for a position. 

As might be imagined, the conversations of the dissatisfied proteges were much 
briefer in this regard. Except to note that their mentors either invested no time or effort, 
or that they only invested in those areas that were of personal interest, there was little to 
say. DPI noted that "when I was doing things that were not only getting me through the 
program, but were also gonna help him out with his. . . in his professional life. . . ." he got 
better treatment from his mentor. He described his personal relationship with his mentor 
as "sterile" and leaving him with "an empty feeling." Ultimately, like other DPs, DPI 
would take his work elsewhere; "I wouldn't even show it to him." 

Feeling Safe 

The importance of feeling safe was especially emphasized by the SPs. Mentors 
and DPs also discussed the importance of the protege's feelings in this regard, but DPs 
tended to withdraw from their mentors as soon as it became apparent that they weren't 
safe and, as usual, the issue became one of deficiency. 



89 

In the conversations of the participants, feelings of safety seem to be related to 

three primary themes: not experiencing rejection, receiving affirmation and 

encouragement, and trust. These three things, when present and experienced by the 

protege, establish a secure base from which they can function and develop. It is worth 

noting that the concept of a secure base is derived from theories relating to attachments 

between parents and their children. The participants in this study used the parent-child 

metaphor frequently to express the feeling they had towards each other. In fact, all the 

mentors and most of the SPs did so, but none of the dissatisfied proteges did. 

For example, in response to the question "Do you like the idea of showing Ml 

that you did it, that you wanted him to be proud?" SP3, who was particularly enamored of 

the parenting metaphor, said 

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I definitely have that second father figure feeling about it, 
and it is equally as devastating when he'd you look at the first draft and really say, 
'no, this is really bad, this is really not it." It was equally as devastating. I think I 
definitely have that same kind of sense of. . . if he was saying "good job," then I 
was feeling that I was good, and I was happy with the approval, and if he was 
saying "no way. . ." that was a bad couple of days. . . . 

When discussing how having a protege was like having kids, Ml said, "It's the 

same way. It's the same thing." Similarly, M4 said 

If you take on a student, you know you're really taking on some responsibility for 
them, just like what we have for a child; you're responsible for them. It's not 
quite the same level of responsibility, but they are somewhat dependent on you in 
a variety of ways. . . just as much as your kids are for the skills they'll need to 
survive in the world whatever they do. 

Not experiencing rejection 

Of the three themes that are subsumed under feelings of safety (not experiencing 
rejection, receiving affirmation, and trust in the mentor), not experiencing rejection was 



90 
clearly the most important to the proteges, both emotionally and in terms of personal and 
professional development. While this theme is defined negatively, as the absence of a 
behavior, it remains significant in that rejection is a positive punishment. That is, if it is 
experienced at all, the offended party often tends to withdraw, and the possibility of a 
corrective or ameliorating positive interaction with the mentor is significantly reduced, if 
not eliminated. This reduction is due not only to the reduced numbers of interactions, as 
the protege tries to avoid a repeat of the aversive event, but also to the negatively biased 
interpretations of any further mentor behaviors by the protege. For example, what is 
meant as a helpful critique may be taken as a direct assault by a previously sensitized 
protege. As a result, even a small amount of this negative behavior may preclude to 
possibility of developing a positive mentoring relationship. 

Examples of mentor behaviors that were experienced as rejecting or threatening 
include demeaning a proteges' efforts, implying the protege is stupid or is asking stupid 
questions, yelling or screaming at the protege, blaming the protege for errors, for poor 
outcomes, or for not knowing what to do, taking out frustrations on the protege related to 
other situations in the mentor's life, embarrassing a protege in front of others, shaming a 
protege, taking a concern a protege brings and making it about themselves (e.g., a protege 
presents something that she wanted help with, and the mentor tells a story about 
something that happened to him, showing that he has 'suffered,' too, yet without 
addressing the protege's concerns), behaving condescendingly towards the protege, and 
others. Both SPs and DPs recognized the necessity of mentors' correcting them and 



91 
showing them their errors (see below), but all participants seemed to recognize the 
difference between rejection and critique. 

The most significant consequents to these rejecting behaviors were that the 
protege withdrew from interactions with the mentor, developed questions about their own 
competence and value and career choice, and became afraid to engage in the necessary 
work for fear of being "slapped down," as one mentor put it. SP2, who was actually the 
SP of one of the award- winning mentors (M3), noted that if a protege became defensive 
at M3's strong critiques, M3 would "hammer" them, but if you accepted the critique and 
asked for help, M3 would "take you under his wing." (This was definitely experienced as 
rejecting and threatening, but was later resolved when the protege went to M3 and 
confronted him. According to the protege, M3 has been working on that quirk since that 
confrontation, and they now get along extremely well). 

Many participants noted the absence of rejection and its correlates. The most 

noted benefit is that proteges feel safe to take risks, not only in terms of talking to their 

mentors about problems and mistakes, but also in terms of being willing and emotionally 

able to explore and experiment with their work or research. For example, when asked 

what her mentor did when SP2 made a mistake, she said, 

SP2: Oh, it was fine. I mean, she [M4] understands that you, of course, this is a 

training period, even now. I've made mistakes. . . but she doesn't go 'rooting' for 

it, she's really relaxed about it. 

Interviewer: what does that get for you? When you're in a situation, and you 

make a mistake, and she's OK with it. . . 

SP2: Well, I mean, it makes me more willing to admit that I made a mistake, and 

also, it's not so much pressure. I know some mentors who are a lot more rigid 

about that, and they do expect you to know, every time, exactly everything that 

needs to be done. And you know, you're going to have people in the lab who are 

going to be scared when you do that. I think it makes it easier for me to just go 



92 

ahead and do something, than to worry about it, if everything isn't exactly right. I 
do make an effort to include everything I understand, based on my own 
knowledge, to do everything correctly, but if it's not correct I don't feel like I 
have to fear anything. 



Receiving Affirmation and Encouragement 

Receiving affirmation and encouragement from a mentor is essentially the 
opposite of experiencing rejection — not opposite in the sense of the absence of one 
implies the presence of the other, but in the sense that while rejection actively hinders 
work and development, affirmation and encouragement promotes it. Of the three themes 
under the category of feeling safe, this was mentioned directly the least but nonetheless 
appeared in my coding quite often. It was my impression that there was what might be 
termed an affirming atmosphere between the mentors and proteges, as evidenced by the 
tone and affect of the participants during the interviews. 

When affirmation was mentioned directly, however, its impact was important. 

SP3 said, "I always knew I had good stuff, I had a good story to tell. What I also knew 

was that I wasn't always the best at telling it. ... I always felt motivated, because Ml 

was very reinforcing, [saying]; 'you've got a good thing here to talk about. . . yeah, 

you're right, this is important, this is good stuff" SP5 noted that her mentor was always 

very affirming or her work, even when suggesting better ways to do it or other options to 

try. She said that she was never made to feel stupid or small. She continued in another 

section 

For the most part, they offered stuff [support and encouragement] so freely it was 
more a matter of "I know where I can get this." I didn't have to earn it; it would 
be there no matter what I did. ... It was extremely validating. 



93 

Mentors also noted the importance of providing affirmation and encouragement to 
proteges. M4 discussed how encouragement softened the blows of failures and mistakes, 
and cultivated the ability to keep "plugging;" M3 commented, "I'm constantly 
encouraging them. . . to stretch, to try new things, to try ideas, to make mistakes, even." 

The lack of affirmation and encouragement can result in proteges going elsewhere 
for their needs, as was noted by DPI, who said (as if he were talking to his mentor), "[if] 
I'm not going to get the feedback and encouragement from you, I'll go to one of these 
other people. . . ." Regarding his mentor's lack of emotional support, when asked what 
would happen to a younger protege who came and worked with this mentor (DPI was 32, 
and had good support at home), he said, "Well, I've seen a lot of them, and. . . I'm the 
second person who has made it out through him with a PhD." 

DP3 commented that instead of commending her for what she had done, her 
mentor would complain about what she hadn't done. DP2 similarly described how her 
mentor would tell her to do something (without providing any clear direction), and when 
she'd bring the work back to him, he would say, "Why didn't you do 'X'." She argued 
that this lack of support or affirmation of her work made her not want to do any work at 
all, or to ever work with him. 
Trust 

There are various ways to construe trust, some of which have likely been implicit 
in previous sections, and others that were not discussed by participants and thus are not 
presented here regardless of their assumed or likely relevance. In fact, trust was 
mentioned by various participants numerous time in diverse contexts, but as a word 



94 

which tends to be used to cover a plethora of ideas, it was necessary for there to be a clear 

and repeated usage for it to be construed as a theme for our purposes. 

The particular conception of trust that was of concern to participants incorporated 

the main theme of honest feedback. The feeling that their mentors would provide honest 

feedback, and in fact were providing it, was of significant importance to proteges in that 

this enabled them to know where they stood in terms of where they stood with their 

mentors, as well as regarding their choice of profession and their ability to perform in that 

profession. SP3 noted that even when it was unpleasant, honest feedback was indicative 

of a functional relationship, rather than that was a problem with him as a person. SP2 

stated that she looks to her mentor to provide honest feedback as to the quality of her 

research. 

SP2: 1 trust her to point out things that I'm doing that might not be correct, or that 

some other set of experiments are better. But also, I feel comfortable asking 

questions; I don't feel like I'm going to be belittled for. . . 

Interviewer: So you feel confident that she's not going to avoid telling you when 

you're screwing up. 

SP2: Oh, absolutely. She does it in a way that doesn't make you feel bad, so that's 

really nice. You know, you don't feel like "Oh, I've just messed up completely 

and ruined everything. . . 

Interviewer: So you trust her to be honest with you. 

SP2: Oh, absolutely. I mean, that's really important. . . . 

One important aspect of honesty was described by two of the DPs. Both DP2 and 

DP3 described how they had, prior to registering in their programs, discussed with their 

mentors what they would be working on, but that after they arrived they found that the 

mentors either gave them another task (DP3), or decided not to work with them (DP2). In 

fact, DP3 stated that she was actively recruited by her mentor, and after she arrived found 

that he would not support her graduate work at all. This lack of integrity was instrumental 



95 

on the part of both of these students to decide to not complete their PhD, and to leave 

their programs with master's degrees. 

Ms also noted the importance of providing honest feedback to students about their 

work and progress, and indeed whether they had selected the right field. Ml noted that 

his students always know where they stand with him. In response to a question as to what 

drew students to him, M3 responded: 

M3: Trust. I think that if you don't have trust you don't go anywhere. . . . They 
need to trust our relationship and know that what I will do and say is for their 
benefit. They need to trust that I'm not just a pretty boy that will just give them 
positive feedback all the time - 1 will give them feedback when I think they're not 
being honest with themselves, and when they're misleading themselves. I think, 
paradoxically, that it's kind of the intensity of the experience that's one of the 
things that draws people. . . . 

Interviewer: So, in terms of trust, they have to trust you. Why is trust important in 
that kind of relationship? 

M3: Well, it gets them a place in their life where they can say and do virtually 
anything, and I'm not going to jump down their throat. I'll give them honest 
feedback that is based on what I think is for their good, and that's perhaps the 
essence of trust. 

Feelings of Belonging and Community 

Participants often noted the importance of feeling a part of something as essential 
to a good grad school experience. In this context, the mentors in particular were aware 
that it is often important to facilitate this sense of belonging, to ensure that students 
derive both the personal and professional benefits of being a part of an important in- 
group. Mentors felt that they were in the position of gatekeepers or sponsors, and there 
was a sense of the mentors saying, "come be where I am." Students enter the program as 
part of the class called novice, and leave the program part of the group called doctor; it is 
important that this transition include actually participating in the new class, since the title 



96 

itself will not provide a sense of belonging. Further, once the student graduates, the 

groups that she or he was a part of during grad school dissipate, and need to be replaced 

by the larger professional community. Ml, in defining a good mentoring relationship, 

said 

Ml: It would involve this sense of belonging, either to a scientific community at 
large or to a local community in which the goals of the larger realm or community 
are pursued. 

Interviewer: So take it a step further. What does a sense of belonging. . . 
Ml : I guess that you have a place in the world. It gives you a frame, it defines 
your identity, and in some ways that's what graduate school is all about, it's about 
defining your identity. It's something to commit to for students; they commit to 
the discipline, they commit to a certain problem, to figuring it out. We're all 
academics, and we define ourselves. . . a lot of our identity is defined in terms of 
who we are, what we do. I think that's what's kind of attractive, in some ways, 
about academic work and research, is that you get to say, "this is who I am, I'm a 
scientist." 

Again, it was mentors who were particularly cognizant of the importance of 
developing a sense of belonging or community among their proteges. They were often 
very intentional in their facilitation of this experience, and provided a number of 
opportunities for their proteges in this regard. For example, M4 included funding in her 
grant proposals to cover her proteges' expenses to attend national conferences. At these 
conferences she would ensure that they were able to not just meet but socialize with the 
"names" in the field. The proteges would also be included in the lunches and dinners that 
she had with other senior academicians and researchers. She noted that this not only gave 
her proteges important contacts and "bragging rights," it also gave them an opportunity to 
interact with high status and high powered people in a safe environment. 

Other mentors were similarly intentional. M2 also took his proteges to national 
conferences, as well as bringing in well-known scientists in the field to join in the weekly 



97 

lab meetings, and to present and discuss their own work in the same way as did the 

proteges. The proteges also presented for the visitors. As M4, above, M2 also noted the 

importance of practicing professional and interpersonal skills with high status persons in 

a safe environment. Ml, in addition to taking proteges to conferences and introducing 

them to colleagues and other professional, described putting his proteges' names on a 

letterhead he designed for the lab, so that whenever something was sent out from any 

member of the group, all their names were seen by the recipients. When asked why these 

were good things to do, he responded 

They're a member of. . . they belong to the discipline. It's an issue of belonging to 
the discipline, they're part of the scientific community. Yes, they're a neophyte in 
the scientific community, but there are scientific communities, and it's important 
to belong. That's what that gesture means, aside from the networking and the 
[name] recognition and so-and-so is so-and-so's student. . . all that gets processed, 
but I think it's is really as you say a socialization experience. 

Mentors frequently mentioned lab or research group meeting as an important 

component in developing feelings of community. M2 says that his proteges present their 

results, interpretations, and the their plans for the next step at these meetings, and the 

other members of the group provide input and critiques. He notes that a major purpose of 

the weekly meetings is to establish bonds between the students and between him and his 

proteges, to develop camaraderie and belonging, as well as to help them see how other 

people think, and to help them develop communication and presentation skills. He also 

notes that he encourages them to mentor each other, which in addition to developing 

concern for one's colleagues and community, is an opportunity to develop the skill of 

mentoring. 



98 
Proteges focused on some of the behaviors that mentors engaged in that made 
them feel that they were in a peer relationship, that they were a part of a team, that they 
were a part of a community, as opposed to an isolated individual merely trying to get a 
degree. Two behaviors were repeatedly discussed by proteges as providing a feeling of 
belonging: First, the mentor being actively curious or getting excited about the proteges 
project or results, which was construed as an indicator that the work was something that a 
"real" scientist would do, and that it was worthwhile in a larger sense. Second, engaging 
in banter, laughing and joking with the protege — especially inside jokes, self-deprecating 
jokes, or jokes that were directed at insiders — and other "unprofessional" activity. These, 
to the proteges, were clear cues that they were now a part of the in-group, as only 
members of a group are allowed to "denigrate" the group (c.f, in-group use of racial 
terms). 

It is worth noting that although social activities were discussed by some mentors 
and proteges as a way to facilitate feelings of belonging, there was no clear correlation 
between nonacademic activities and good mentoring relationships. Some mentors and 
proteges felt that social activities were a very important part of the relationship, while 
others disagreed, citing concerns such as favoritism or loss of objectivity. One mentor 
indicated that in order to avoid perceptions of impropriety he did not feel free to socialize 
after hours with his female proteges, a constraint that he was not happy about. 
Nonetheless, for those mentors and proteges who feel comfortable engaging in social 
interactions, they appeared to contribute to proteges' perceptions of belonging. 



99 

As implied earlier, this limitation did not apply in the context of conferences. 

Participation in conferences and colloquia was noted by proteges, as well, as one 

especially important medium for developing a feeling of belonging. This more than any 

other specifically mentioned activity represented to them that they were in fact a part of a 

larger and important community. There appears to be a significant qualitative difference 

between belonging to a lab group made up of grad students, and experiencing the 

excitement and affirmation when participating in a professional conference. SP3 noted: 

When we would go to conferences, people were really interested in what I was 
doing, and again the whole time [M3] would be there. And the fact that others are 
interested in what I was doing, and I could talk with them and have good 
conversations about things, and the fact that [M3] was excited to be there for 
those conversations as well — that was also the circle of approval of other peers 
that are out there. . . . 

One observation made during the interviews, not mentioned directly by 
participants in the conversations, but relevant to the notion of feeling of belonging, was 
the consistent use of the pronoun "we" by both SPs and Ms, but not by DPs. This seems 
to indicate that at a very fundamental level a good mentoring relationship intrinsically is 
one of being a part of something, even if only a dyad. 

DPs also recognized the importance of belonging, but typically had to find ways 
to facilitate this on their own. One DP, feeling that there was no relationship with her 
mentor, established a reading group among the mentor's grad students so that they would 
have an opportunity to provide each other support. DPI noted that he felt like a colleague 
only when he was doing work that served his mentors needs and professional life. DPs, 
far from feeling like they were a part of anything, indicated that they couldn't get anyone 
to support their interests, that their committee wanted neither to meet nor to read the 



100 
proteges' work, and in one previously noted case, offered to help the student leave the 
program, since she appeared to be functioning without support. Of course, only one side 
of these stories is available, but regardless of the objective accuracy of these descriptions 
and attributions, the experience of DPs is one of isolation and disconnection. 

Feelings of Increasing Competence 
If the reason that most people come to graduate school is to attain some specific 
educational or personal goal, it would seem important that feeling that one was making 
progress towards these goals would be a relevant factor. A commonly known feeling in 
graduate school is the "imposter syndrome," in which the grad student questions whether 
she or he is competent to do the work, whether she or he should be there, and in which 
the student wonders when the real professionals are going to finally notice that "this 
person is an imposter, not a real candidate at all!" As an anodyne to this syndrome, it is 
critical that the mentor ensure that events and experiences are available for the proteges 
that provide repetitive and clear cues that one is making progress toward the goal. 

Indeed, proteges and mentors recognized this, and both groups of participants 
noted it during the interviews. M4 noted that, as a good mentor, "it's a part of what you 
want to support, I think, to help them develop. . . to believe that they can succeed, that 
they can take on challenges. And they may wonder why they did it, but, you know, they 
can pull it off!" M3 said that recognizing that "the mentoring relationship itself [is] a 
vehicle for having progress toward various goals" is foundational, and without that 
recognition, the relationship isn't going to work. SP5 noted the feeling that her mentor 
was helping her progress from neophyte to peer, and was not keeping her dependent. She 



101 

also noted that since she had great respect for him, when he simply told her that she was 

doing well, she believed him, and so she felt "competent and confident." SP3 seemed 

inspired while describing some of these feelings: 

It made me feel great! It was cool! It helped me feel like I was accomplishing 
things, like I was actually passing milestones or whatever, which I think it's a 
hard to feel, especially going through a doctoral program, where you keep getting 
more and more work. There are those milestones that are kind of far in-between, 
and it helped me feel that I was progressing, that I was going somewhere. I was 
learning, I was seeing, I could start to see. ... I could visibly see myself 
becoming more and more like a professor, the level I wanted to be. . . . Sometimes 
it's kind of hard to feel that you're progressing, that you're going anywhere. 
You're just kind of floating, a never ending "Am I going to finish this battle?" 
And, yes, I felt that was something I could tangibly observe as being progress in 
myself — I was moving towards the goal of finally getting my doctorate. 

Clarifying Expectations 

A number of activities appear to be relevant to helping the protege feel that she or 
he is making progress. The first one (chronologically speaking) is to clarify expectations 
and goals. The notion of an advance organizer is applicable here. Providing an 
understanding of the program, the requirements, the tasks to be accomplished and the 
relevant time frames allows student to keep ongoing track of their progress, especially 
when the goals are finite and concrete. M4 notes that she tries to make students fully 
aware of "what they're in for," and what is expected from them as they're progressing. At 
the same time she states that it is important to "encourage them a lot, and give them a lot 
of positive feedback for the successive approximations that they've made. . . ." M3 states 
that students he works with are fully apprised of what he is doing and what he is 
interested in. As SP1 notes, when a mentor provides to the protege a description of the 



102 
mentor's style and limits, the protege is able to more easily negotiate the relationship and 
avoid tripping over things that might hinder this encouragement and positive feedback. 
Following an Appropriate Developmental Course 

A second factor that helps proteges experience successes and gains is when the 
mentor follows an appropriate developmental course in their expectations from and 
training of their protege. Giving a first year student tasks appropriate to a forth year is not 
often going to end up as a success experience, but neither will continuing to give a forth 
year student tasks suited to a novice let that student feel that progress is being made. SP1 
states that his mentor is "continually ramping up as far as how much you can handle. . . 
people who handle that, the addition of another stress, so to speak, continue on, and the 
people who start stumbling, he would probably back off." 

All of the mentors were fully cognizant of the developmental course of a proteges 

education, and incorporated it into their expectations and goals. M2 describes how a good 

mentor recognizes that new students may not know how to do science, or what 

constitutes a good or bad research question, so he tries to build a program that teaches 

these skills. M4 notes that it's not expected that students will have great communications 

skills when they arrive, so they're taught. Ml said, 

Ml : I think the developmental systems model that we use is a perfect metaphor 
[for mentoring]. . . . The way you do it with advance students, and the kind of 
input that you give them and the kind of feedback that you give them is very 
different that the kind of feedback you give a first year, and there's sort of a 
middling phase which, to me, is the hardest, because you're always having to 
gauge what they know and don't know, and what's going to be salient, and what's 
going to stick and what's not going to stick. . . . 

Interviewer: What would happen if you guessed wrong and expected something 
of them that they weren't able to give? 
Ml: Well, I have to scale back. 



103 

Interviewer: What would happen to them, in terms of their. . . [development] 
Ml : Oh. Well, it depends on who the student is, and if they student has fairly 
good metacognitive ability. Sometimes they're pretty upset that they'd let me 
down, or they're feeling that they don't measure up. Some of the students are 
oblivious — none of them are when they finish, but some are oblivious on the way. 
They'll get it. They'll figure it out. 

Increasing Autonomy 

A third condition, which is a derivative of the second, that provides evidence to 

the protege that she or he is making progress towards the goal, is providing increasing 

autonomy and responsibility. Both mentors and proteges commented on being provided 

the opportunity to (and sometimes being required to) solve problems on their own, both 

research and personal. M2 notes that sometimes he has to push the proteges to engage in 

difficult processes, such as leading the research group or presenting, but that by doing so 

he facilitates their development in a safe place. Ml says that, especially as the students 

progress, he will tell them when something needs to be done, and let them figure out how 

to go about doing it. Or when a decision needs to be made, he'll tell them to make it. SP2 

appreciates this approach; when asked whether she wanted to be told the answers to 

difficult problems, she said "No. No, absolutely not. I don't want to be told the answer; I 

don't want to be told what to do. I want to have some freedom and ability to develop my 

own understanding." She later continued, 

In the beginning, of course, I was just learning techniques and basically doing 
experiments that were assigned. Then, after a while, after I got a little bit more 
involved she really let me kind of take things in my own direction. From doing 
my own reading of the literature and what I understood about Alzheimer's disease 
and other things, I've been able to develop my own set of experiments and my 
own hypotheses, and kind of my own little project, which has been very helpful, 
because or also allows me to do the kind of thinking. . . .And that's what you have 
to do in the real world. 



104 

The value of increasing autonomy and responsibility is, of course, modulated by 

the presence of many of the other factors discussed. This is evidenced by the nearly total 

autonomy and responsibility of three of the four DPs, only two of whom are completing 

their doctoral degrees. The comments of the two who are leaving with their master's 

degrees were remarkable similar. For example, DP2 noted that instead of being 

commended for what she had done, she was criticized for what she had failed to do. DP3 

said that if she didn't have any ideas, she was told she wasn't doing the work; when she 

did have ideas, she was told they were no good. The two DPs who managed to complete 

their doctoral programs did recall some feelings of progress. DP4 noted that in spite of 

his mentor's failure to allow virtually any autonomy, he was learning important skills and 

behaviors - essentially, in spite of her efforts. DP3 felt that in the very specific areas of 

writing and research he felt that he was making progress when he was with his mentor, 

but in no other way (in the mentoring relationship). When asked whether he ever reached 

the point in his relationship with his mentor where he said "Whatever," he replied: 

I think that's a good way to look at it. . . . Yeah, I did. I can't pinpoint exactly 
when that was. I think once I found myself getting though the program and doing 
things, and then little things would come up. You know, I would get the kind of 
feedback I was telling you about: "What are you writing this for? Why are you 
doing this research?" I just decided I just didn't need to step over that boundary, 
so I didn't. So I'd just go to someone else and find another avenue. By the end, 
indifference was probably a good way to put it. . . . 



CHAPTER 5 
DISCUSSION 

The present study attempted to uncover those qualitative factors that, when 
present in a mentoring relationship, qualify it as a good mentoring relationship. Neither 
good nor mentoring were defined for participants, which allowed the relevant 
characteristics to emerge from the participants' thoughts and experiences rather than be 
an attempt to inform a provided construct. Furthermore, although this project was 
exploratory and did not specify a strong or direct hypothesis, a central presumption was 
that merely having an advisor or "mentor," merely meeting with someone and being 
given some measure of advice and information, merely having a committee chair, was 
not sufficient to define good mentoring. As was pointed out by various participants in this 
study, students can get advice and information from almost anyone. 

Covey (1998) reflected that teaching is heard, modeling is seen, but mentoring is 
felt. The affective quality of mentoring was supported by the findings of this project. 
During the analysis of the interview data, it became apparent that the characteristics 
definitional of a good mentoring relationship, as described by the participants, were 
affective in nature. As a result, how the proteges felt about what was going on in their 
relationship with their mentors became the primary data of interest: What they liked or 
didn't like, what they wanted, how things made them feel about themselves or their 
progress or their mentors was pivotal in the qualitative differentiation between good 
mentoring and bad mentoring. Indeed, it might be argued that in the absence of a positive 

105 



106 
emotional tone, the term mentoring may be an inaccurate representation of the 
relationship. 

It was determined that the factors most commonly reported to be related to the 
qualification of a mentoring relationship could be subsumed under a single category that 
was termed "positive affect." This became the core category , under which the remainder 
of the results could be compiled in a hierarchical structure. This structure contains three 
levels: the first or highest level is the core category, positive affect. The second level has 
five categories: feeling respected, feeling valued, feeling safe, feelings of belonging, and 
feelings of making progress. (Note that all category labels were selected by the 
researcher, and while intended to be representative of the contents of the category, remain 
matters of preference.) Some of these categories subsume third-level themes, which are 
themselves derived directly form the interview data. Note that while the project 
perspective ultimately focused on the perceptions of the proteges, these were, as much as 
possible, connected with the mentor's actions, behaviors, and words in order to better 
understand the mentor's part in the good mentoring relationship. 

Feeling respected subsumes two themes: respect as a person, and respect of the 
right of self-determination. Respect as a person makes reference to the simple respect and 
courtesy that we all owe each other as persons. It is implicit in the nature and ethics of 
social intercourse. This type of respect was of most concern to mentors and to DPs, who 
considered it essential as a foundation to the relationship. Without this fundamental 
respect, there are few who could, or would, maintain a relationship at any level. The 
second type of respect was the respect for a person's freedom and self-determination. In a 



107 
sense supplemental to basic respect of person, this would be exemplified the additional 
level of respect maintained towards people's right to choose for themselves what they 
would like to do, or accomplish, or become. It was noted by all the participants that the 
purpose of mentoring is to facilitate the protege's attaining their goals. This concept was 
discussed by participants in all three groups, but again most frequently by the mentors. 
While mentors noted the importance of creation and generativity in their own motivation 
for mentoring and the work it entails, they repeatedly asserted that it was the proteges' 
choices and desires that were the central consideration. 

Feeling valued by or important to the mentor, the second major factor, provides 
important validation of the protege's being and identity. The protege is not simply a 
means to an end for the mentor, nor is she or he an extraneous and interfering aspect in 
the mentors' "real" work of teaching or research. Respect and value are differentiated (in 
this context) by the universality of respect and the individuality of value. All people 
deserve respect, but a protege's is by definition of greater concern to their mentor than 
other people, a distinction that can be seen in the mentor's actions. The protege picks up 
on these cues and behaviors and internalizes the mentor's valuations, developing a 
positive self-perception. Of course, DPs pick up a different valuation, and similarly 
internalize it, resulting in questions of self worth or potential in their chosen field. 

Two themes were found to underpin feelings of being valued or important: 
availability, and time and effort. Availability was perhaps the characteristic of a good 
mentoring relationship that participant's mentioned most frequently, and was explicitly 
noted as an essential component - sine qua non. Availability refers not merely to physical 



108 
availability, but to psychological or emotional availability, such as is exhibited when 
mentors provided elaborated responses to questions, as opposed to short and accurate but 
unhelpful answers. The character of time and effort as indicative of the protege's value is 
found in a mentor's level of activity or proactivity on the protege's behalf. The mentor 
demonstrates her or his valuation of the protege by the concrete investment of limited 
time and energy resources to the development and requirements of the protege towards 
their goals. 

The third major characteristic indicative of a good mentoring relationship, feeling 
safe, was particularly noted by SPs, but was discussed by all participants. Being in an 
environment in which the protege did not experience rejection, received ongoing 
encouragement and affirmation, and in which the mentor could be trusted (the three 
themes underlying this category) was essential for the qualification of a mentoring 
relationship as good. Not experiencing rejection was an important component in the 
proteges willingness to take risks, to try new things, to admit mistakes, and to accomplish 
new tasks. DPs, who experienced significant rejection reported problems with confidence 
and motivation, and avoided contact with their mentors rather than experience feelings of 
rejection. 

Obviously, DPs received little encouragement or affirmation, the second theme. 
Receiving affirmation and encouragement from a mentor seems to promote motivation 
and development, while rejection hinders these processes. In fact, of the three themes 
making up feelings of safety, this was focused on least by all groups. It might be 
hypothesized that rejection is a much more powerful form of feedback, and thus much 



109 
more salient. Rejection can have an immediate and pervasive negative impact on a 
mentoring relationship, while experiences of affirmation might individually have a much 
smaller impact. This also might represent a baseline affect that is slightly positive, in that 
no rejection is itself a form of affirmation. Future research might look at this difference in 
the reports of participants. 

Despite the pervasive use of the term trust, and its consequent ambiguity, there 
appeared to be a particular conception of trust reported by participants that was related 
the theme of honest feedback. It was of special importance that mentors provide honest 
(but not rejecting) feedback to proteges about their work, skills, competence, and 
potential in the field. Protege's noted that even when it was unpleasant, it removed 
significant uncertainty and stress, allowed them to make better decisions, and was 
indicative of a functional relationship. 

The forth category was defined by feelings of belonging and community. All 
participants indicated that feeling a part of something was an important part of the 
experience, and that the mentor was a primary facilitator of this feeling. In fact, mentors 
were particularly cognizant of the importance of proteges' becoming a part of their 
professional communities, more so than the proteges, who seemed primarily to notice 
either the feeling of belonging or the absence of it. Mentors facilitated these feelings in 
the way they constructed their programs and in the way they ran their research and lab 
groups and meetings. They also enlarged the community by supporting proteges' 
attendance at conferences, and by bringing important people in the field in to the 
department to interact with the students. Mentors are also in the position of gatekeepers 



110 

to their respective professional communities, and provided references, introductions, and 
other networking benefits to proteges. 

The fifth and final category representing factors that contribute to the evaluation 
of a relationship as a good mentoring relationship was feelings of making progress. 
Graduate students often feel what is referred to as the "imposter syndrome," which 
attempts to describe the doubts that they have what it takes to succeed in their field, and 
that soon someone will notice and ask them to leave. This syndrome is only partially 
tongue-in-cheek, as evidenced by the discussions of the participants in this study, as well 
as its' not infrequent appearance in conversation and the literature. 

Since most people in graduate school have an agenda, a goal, feelings that one is 
making progress toward that goal will be rewarding, and thus motivating. Objective 
measures of progress are often hard to come by in graduate school, and tend to be 
infrequent (e.g., the masters' degree), or uninformative (e.g., grades). It is thus important 
that the mentor provide ongoing success experiences and clear feedback when progress is 
being made. Clarification of goals and expectations, following an appropriate 
developmental course, and increasing the protege's autonomy and responsibility all 
contribute to the ability of the protege to recognize their progress towards the goals. 
Clarifying goals and expectations reduces the problem inherent in measuring outcomes in 
any domain. It is essential to know the goal before it can be determined if it has been 
reached. When the mentor takes the time to clarify their expectations of the protege, the 
protege is more meaningfully able to understand the implicit goals that a mentor has, so 
she or he can incorporate those into her or his processes. 



Ill 

Additionally, it was repeatedly reported that good mentors were aware of the 
progressive nature of their protege's development, and that significant consideration was 
given to ensuring that the developmental status of the student was assessed and their 
unique developmental needs were matched. This allows students to experience more 
successes, and to become more aware of their own development as they continue to 
engage in more developmentally advanced tasks. Closely related to this is the provision 
of increasing autonomy and responsibility as the protege becomes more skilled and more 
able to cope with complex or advanced tasks. Proteges' noted that this was one of the 
important cues that they were getting closer to their goals of becoming professionals, and 
that it prepared them for entry into that world. It was a clear indicator, other things given, 
that in their mentors estimation they were able to function as beginning professionals 
rather than merely students. 

An interesting feature of these findings is the commonality of perceptions 
amongst participants as to the characteristics of a good mentoring relationship. This 
bodes well for the generalizability of these results, a possible limitation of this project. 
While there were certainly individual variations in emphasis and focus, the majority of 
these characteristics were discussed at some level by virtually all of the participants. For 
example, one mentor discussed belonging much more than the others, another focused on 
trust, and all four used — but two were particularly enamored of — parenting and 
attachment as metaphors for the mentoring relationship, as were five or six of the 
proteges. Also significant was that the dissatisfied proteges often confirmed the 
importance of these factors by explicitly noting their absence. Of course, factors that 



112 
found little common support as important for good mentoring were not construed as 
central, and were not selected for inclusion. For example, financial support was noted, 
but it was not represented as important to the quality of the relationship. 

Another factor discussed, but not included as a factor was non-academic social 
interactions (drinks after work, social meals, games and sports). Based on general 
readings of the literature, it was expected that social interactions outside the academy 
would play a larger role in the minds of mentors and proteges in their definitions of a 
good mentoring relationship. The data do not support this expectation. Although a 
number of the participants indicated that they engaged in regular social activities, such as 
going out after hours, or having proteges to their houses not infrequently, some mentors 
and proteges indicated that this was not a factor, that they preferred not to engage in this 
level of social intimacy, and that it in fact might prove an obstacle to maintaining 
objectivity when difficult evaluations were needed. Insofar as the mentors and proteges 
were matched with each other in terms of their preferences in this area (as far as could be 
determined by the particular sample in the project), it seems likely that this is an 
individual difference factor, and not a factor related generally to good mentoring 
relationships. 

Another finding that was unexpected was that whether the mentor was actively 
engaged in research or not was not invariably related to good mentoring in the context of 
doctoral students. It was expected that in the context of mentoring graduate students, 
mentors would need to be active in research, if for no other reason than to provide good 
role modeling in that domain. Although most participants indeed felt that it was critical 



113 

that the mentor be actively engaged in research, and that they obtained significant benefit 
by observing their mentors in that role, this was not unanimous. In fact, one of the 
mentors, who had recently received a national award from graduate students for his 
mentoring, was not engaged in any research at all. Possible explanatory factors include 
that this mentor has a highly active and productive research lab that he oversees but his 
graduate students run, that he has done extensive research in the past, and that he 
continues to be a prolific writer in the field. It was noted by one protege that whether they 
were actively engaged in research was less relevant than whether they had been. Further 
research to determine the parameters of this variable would be valuable in determining 
important mentor characteristics. 

The findings of this research are consistent with much of the previous work on 
mentoring. For example, general support was found for phases in the mentoring 
relationship as described by Phillips (1982), Missirian (1982), and Kram (1983). 
Although specific stages were not differentiated in this analysis, the participants did note 
the central importance of being aware of and adhering to a clear developmental course, 
and especially of the mentor's engaging in an ongoing (if informal) assessment of the 
protege's progress along this path. Participants also noted the developmental course of 
the mentoring relationship itself, describing "stages" quite similar to those in the 
literature. Discussions of the participants also were consistent with researchers 
perceptions of a vast diversity of mentoring functions, though not Pollock's (1995) 144. 
High quality mentors once again were represented as truly amazing people, who have 
cared for and nurtured proteges as their own children. 



114 
There are a number of factors that may represent limitations to this study. First, 
there was only one coder of the interview data; the author performed all coding and 
analysis tasks himself. Although this is not uncommon in this type of research (Dick, 
2002; Kram, 1985), it must be noted that this will introduce the likelihood of a subjective 
bias. As Kram (1985) noted, "data collection and data analysis can not be separated in 
exploratory qualitative research" (p. 215). Ongoing analysis of the data by the researcher 
is an integral part of the process of gathering additional data; it does not occur only at the 
conclusion of a data collection stage. Indeed, the researcher is construed as a primary tool 
in the analysis. 

In grounded theory, it is asserted that avoidance of this bias this is not entirely 
feasible (nor even necessarily desirable, given the presumed developed expertise of the 
analyst). The presence of bias is dealt with by first making the researcher's biases as far 
as possible explicit, and then by accepting the limitations on the researcher's ability to 
make unbiased "truth" claims about the findings. It is left to the consumer of the research 
to determine for her or himself whether the researcher is credible and her or his 
conclusions are plausible. Grounded theory, however, makes no assertion that the 
particular conclusions of the researcher's analysis are the only plausible conclusions; 
other researchers might well come to different conclusions, or find different factors more 
compelling. This does not impact the value of the present research for structuring the data 
or developing substantive theoretical models (Glaser & Strauss, 1970; Rennie & Brewer, 
1987). 



115 
Researchers using the grounded theory methodology consider the concerns about 
researcher bias to be significantly outweighed by the complementary benefit; that is, that 
the qualitative method "is often the most adequate and efficient method for obtaining the 
type of information desired" (Glaser & Strauss, 1970; c.f, Giorgi, 1992). The use of the 
grounded theory method is perhaps the most notable strength of this project. This 
methodology has been used numerous times in the mentoring literature, not the least 
important of which was Kram's original and seminal work (Kram, 1983, 1985). It has 
also been used to explore the mentoring experiences of GLB graduate students (Niolon, 
1997). Thus, the limitation due to subjectivity is induced by the specific strength of the 
project, that of being able to distil out the subjective factors definitional of the quality of 
the relationship. 

A second potential qualification is that of limitations on generalizability. The 
sample consisted of ongoing or recently graduated doctoral students (or, in the case of 
two of the dissatisfied proteges, students who decided to leave their programs after 
obtaining a master's degree), and graduate school faculty mentors. In addition, the 
number of fields and departments sampled was necessarily limited, though efforts were 
made to include some diversity. Strictly speaking, the findings should be limited to these 
populations. Further research with samples form other fields or departments, and from 
business settings should be carried out to strengthen the generalizability of the findings. 

A final factor to note is that no effort was made to account for or control for 
personality or other characteristics that the mentors or the proteges brought to the 
relationship. This was noted previously as being a strong potential confound for much of 



116 
the mentoring research (e.g., Green & Bauer, 1995; Lovitts, 2001; Turban & Dougherty, 
1994). While the research on prior factor's contributions to mentoring outcomes is an 
important consideration, and would seem likely to play a part in a mentor's or a protege's 
qualification as a relationship as good, this is not construed specifically as a limitation. 
The present research was descriptive of affective conditions and behaviors within the 
relationship, not of the characteristics of the mentor or the protege, per se. 

This research provided an embarrassment of riches. Like a net with a small mesh, 
far more data than is immediately usable was gathered. However, one of the design 
parameters of the method of analysis used is that the researchers seek to uncover and 
develop only one core category in any given project (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). Thus, 
while there is sufficient data to develop other projects if desired, it is argued that 
inductive focus is lost if all possible categories are sought and elaborated. 

Aside from research replicating these results, two areas in particular that would be 
fruitful for future research include an exploration of the applicability of attachment theory 
to the mentoring relationship, and developing a training model with which to disseminate 
these findings. The prevalence of the parenting metaphor, as well as the ease with which 
many of the central factors uncovered can be mapped onto the attachment model present 
tantalizing clues that the extensive literature on child attachment processes could be 
mined for use in understanding and developing the mentoring relationship. 

Second, exploring whether the findings of this project can be developed into a 
training program for mentors and proteges would be valuable. Many of the categories 
delineated here are closely tied to definable mentor behaviors. These could be more 



117 
clearly operationalized and disseminated to mentors and proteges, and qualitative as well 
as quantitative outcomes could be measured. If the quality of the relationship is strongly 
associated with both subjective and objective outcomes (Lovitts, 2001), these findings 
may provide a way to improve these outcomes. 

The unique contribution of this study is the uncovering of specific affective 
components critical to a positive evaluation of the mentoring relationship. No previous 
study was found that specifically focused on these factors. Given the opportunity to 
elaborate those factors they believed to be central to good mentoring, participants focused 
on affective components, not rational, concrete, technical factors. These other important 
factors were neither ignored nor minimized; rather, it was noted that these things could be 
obtained even from a poor mentor, or another person entirely. 

The centrality of affect to differentiating mentoring from other, possibly very 
productive relationships, may also help explain the difficulty that has been ubiquitous in 
defining mentoring. This research implies that mentoring is not a concrete construct that 
can adequately be represented by functions and phases and outcomes; it is a human 
relationship with fuzzy boundaries derived largely from affective rather than cognitive 
factors. Whether or not the satisfied proteges in this study will ultimately receive more 
money or more promotions, they will likely continue to assert that they were well 
mentored, and that their mentors were and are important people in their lives. It is hoped 
that these findings will provide mentors and proteges, and others concerned with these 
relationships, some guidance in developing what all hope to experience — a good 
mentoring relationship. 



APPENDIX A 
INFORMED CONSENT 

Protocol Title: Mentoring 

Please read this document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. 

Purpose of this research study: 

The purpose of this study is to look for psychological factors in the mentoring process 
that facilitate the success of the relationship. 

What you will be asked to do in this study: 

You will be interviewed by the primary researcher in a mutually agreed upon private 
milieu. You will be asked a number of open-ended questions regarding your experiences 
with and perceptions of mentoring and the mentoring relationship. These questions will 
serve as an introduction to discussion, and will be followed by an unstructured dialogue 
between the researcher and yourself. This discussion will be audio taped for later 
transcription to hard copy. 

Time required: 

It is expected that the interview will last approximately 1 hour. 

Risks, benefits, and compensation: 

There are no anticipated risks associated with this study, nor are you expected to derive 
any direct benefits. There is no compensation for your participation. 

Confidentiality: 

Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. No identifying 
information will be requested while audiotaping is in progress, nor will any identifying 
information be included in the transcripts. The tapes and transcripts will be labeled using 
a code number, which will be kept separately from a master list. Transcription will be 
carried out by the primary researcher or a supervised research assistant. The audiotapes 
and the transcripts from the tapes will remain at all times in the care and control of the 
primary researcher. When the project is complete, the audiotapes will be erased and the 
master list destroyed. The transcripts will remain in the care and custody of the primary 
researcher. Your name will not be used in any report. 

Voluntary Participation: 

Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not 
participating. You may decline to answer any question. 

118 





119 


Right to withdraw from the study: 

You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. 


Whom to contact if you have 


questions about the study: 


Primary Investigator: 


Mark Brechtel, MS 
Department of Psychology 
Box 112250 
University of Florida 
Gainesville, FL, 3261 1-2250 
352-392-0601 
brechtel(S),ufl.edu 


Faculty Supervisor: 


Franz Epting, Ph.D. 
Department of Psychology 
Box 112250 
University of Florida 
Gainesville, FL, 3261 1-2250 
352-392-0601 ext. 256 
eDting(S),ufl.edu 


Whom to contact if you have 
in the study: 


questions about your rights as a research participant 


IRB Office: 


UFIRB Office 
Box 112250 
University of Florida 
Gainesville, FL, 3261 1-2250 
352-392-0433 


Agreement: 

I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the 
procedure and I have received a copy of this description. 


Participant: 


Date- 


Principal Investigator: 


Date- 





120 



KU ADDENDUM TO UF PROTOCOL # 2002-551 
TITLE OF PROTOCOL: MENTORING 



In keeping with the University of Kansas's interest in protecting the rights and welfare of 
research participants, this addendum provides additional local contact information for the 
principal investigator and the University of Kansas faculty sponsor. If you have any 
questions about the project, please contact: 



PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: 



Mark F. Brechtel, MS 

Counseling and Psychological Services 

2100 Watkins Health Center 

University of Kansas 

785-864-2277 

brechtel@ku.edu 



UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS 
FACULTY SPONSOR: 



Francis J. DeSalvo, PhD, LSCSW 
Counseling and Psychological Services 
2100 Watkins Health Center 
University of Kansas 
785-864-2277 
frankd@ku.edu 



If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant, please 



contact: 



Human Subjects Committee - Lawrence (HSCL) 
University of Kansas 
241 Youngberg Hall 
2385 Irving Hill Road 
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7563 



Contact Person: 



David Hann 

dhann@kh.edu 

785-864-7429 



Agreement: 

I have received a copy of this addendum, which provides local contact information 
regarding the indicted protocol. 



Participant: 



Principal Investigator: 



Date: 
Date: 



APPENDIX B 
MENTOR INTERVIEW SAMPLE 

MARK: (continuing) so tell me . . . let's go ahead and start talking about mentoring. Just 

a global question: What do you think represents an effective mentoring relationship, and 

obviously this is going to take more than 25 words. 

Ml: First and foremost I think its commitment to somebody else's career. So, when 

somebody comes in and says they'd like to study. ... I'd like to work with you — and I'm 

a lucky person in that I have marginal visibility nationally, so the people will apply to 

work with me. I'm lucky, I don't say deserve that. It's an honor, first, to have that happen, 

and second, it's a responsibility, because to me it implies a ton of obligation that the 

applicant probably doesn't realize. I have put out for them. I have to look out for their 

career interests. I have to look out for their mental health to some degree, and in many 

cases I feel responsible for their being able to have meat and potatoes. I have to try my 

damnedest to try and support them financially in a way that makes them comfortable but 

not too comfortable and to get them through. So, it's really a commitment to all three of 

those areas I think, and there's probably more that I'll think of as we go on today, but at 

minimum it's those things. So, I have to know what they are interested in, I have to know 

what they wanted to. . . my favorite questioned to people is "tell me what your life looks 

like five years from now," and once we know that then we craft the next five years or 

plan for the next 2-3 years to get you there. So . . . 



121 



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MARK: So you're real intentional about this. You don't just wait for somebody come in 
and . . . 

Ml: No. If you wait . . . usually people don't come in chat until there's a problem, and by 
then who knows what. . . 

MARK: Do you have a schedule; get to meet with them on a regular basis? 
Ml: I have a team ... I have found in the past . . .see, I have to now segregate my career 
into before associate dean and after. Before taking this administrative post, I was in the 
lab constantly, which... I'm not sure how my students liked that or not (laughing). . . but I 
was there constantly and I was in my office constantly. . .my door was always open. So, 
we got our last NIH grant in '98, and I said that "we should have regular staff meetings" 
and they said, "For what? We don't have to have this, you're always around." So, that's 
how that's happened. Now, what I do now is a little different, because — this is going to 
screw up your study — what I do now is check in with them, because I'm not available on 
a regular basis. I should say . . . they're still welcome to walk through the door; it's just 
that I'm physically removed from the premises. So, they're still welcome. I feel like I 
have to check in with them occasionally, but they're still welcome to check in with me. 
E-mail's good for that. They can call me, but they know that e-mail's better. And they're 
not shy about asking for time, and I still give them top priority. If they need to get in to 
see me, that's still my top priority, for them to come in and.. . . We don't really have 
meetings, staff meetings, because . . . what I found that happens during staff meetings is 
we do get to iron out things, but right now I have my post-doc who can handle a lot of the 
ironing out. And the other thing is that I like them to work together as a team, to work out 



123 
their own schedules. I don't like to set . . .1 know we have three lab sites, we have 
different projects going on in the labs, at different times, and ... I know some people 
who structure their students time — you have to be here at this time, you have to be there 
at that time — I basically let them make their own schedules, and I just say "here's what 
has to be done, and you guys figure out how to go about getting a done." So, I found that 
at meetings, at regular staff meetings, people come up to me and say, "Who's going to 
make that decision." And I'd say, you guys deal with that, I'm not going to do . . . 
MARK: How is that different from before, when you were always there? Was it the 
same thing then? 

Ml: It was basically the same thing then. I took a little bit of a more ... I can tell you 
that I was far more proactive in getting issues out and dealing with them that I am now, 
but I'm pretty confident now that my post-doc can keep a handle on that. She'll say, I'm 
not sure to bother you with this, normally I'd handle it myself, but this is something that I 
need you to do. 

MARK: So your post-doc, then, when she has problem, how does that look, in terms of 
the discussion? 

Ml: I say, "What's the problem." She says, "Here's the problem." We look at the 
parameters, who's affected, what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and if it is 
something that I have to do I'll pick up the phone or take some action to change it. Or for 
something that she can do, I'll say that here's what I think you should do, does that sound 
OK to you? 
MARK: she is being mentored . . . and, of course, you're right, it is a little different . . . 



124 
Ml: It's not all that different. 

MARK: OK. But I'm trying to figure out, what is she getting out of this? Is she getting 
out of this what she needs to get out of this? 

Ml: She, in effect, is now getting training as a lab head, and she's getting training in 
supervising grad students. So, she's getting that kind of experience that is going to be 
valuable in the long run. 

MARK: Let's try a different one. Let's say you're back in your lab, and your door's 
always open, and you're pretty much always there. What is different about the way you 
did things, than the way, say, somebody else who was always there with their door 
always open, but wasn't well liked as a mentor. What were you doing, what were you 
giving them that was different . . .? 

Ml: Well, I have to make the other person up, because . . . there's got to be more than 
one other person, because other people do different things . . . 
MARK: Well, we can just eliminate the other person. What you think that you were 
giving them that was making it work for them? 

Ml: I think first and foremost that I was giving them advice or direction that was 
consistent with them actually getting what they wanted in terms of career; in that it made 
them competitive nationally for positions. Or, if they didn't want a nationally competitive 
position it made them competitive for whatever it was that they wanted to do. The second 
thing was I think my students feel supported by me. I've never asked them that question 
directly, but I think that they feel, again, primarily ... I can sense some grumblings now 
that I'm not on the premises, but I think they felt that I was interested in supporting them 



125 
on a number of different levels. For example, if they came to me and asked me for 
something, I tried my best to get to them. But also. . .1 guess one of the things that struck 
me is that it was actually pretty rare for, I found out recently, it was rare for graduate 
advisers to invite students to their homes for dinner, or go out there with them, or to 
throw Christmas party at your house and buy them presents, even if it's a book that has to 
do with the field. It doesn't happen! I was just aghast that that didn't happen! I do all those 
things, and I thought that — not that my adviser did that for me, but I thought that the 
students came all this way to work with me, or work on the same kinds of problems that 
we were working on, that I owed it to them. Happily, but I owed to them in the larger 
context. 

MARK: So, if you were to think like a psychologist ... I'm a student, and I come work 
for you, and you say, "We're having a dinner. All the students are getting together and 
going out for dinner." How does that make me feel? See, because what I'm trying to 
understand is what's going on within the person, almost like I can take an attachment 
model, or I can take a developmental model .... Psychologically speaking, what is a 
student getting from a good mentor? 

Ml: I think that the message that they are getting is that I care about them as a person. 
It's trite, but I think that's it. They're not just someone who works for me, even though I 
pay them, they're not just somebody who represents my ego extended, because really I 
want them to get to do whatever it is that they want to do. I don't . . . some advisers get 
really upset that their students don't go onto research one institutions. I've had students 
that go onto research one institutions, and I've had students who have quit to work in 



126 
industry, and both are fine as far as I'm concerned because they get what they want, and 
the degree to which we prepared them for any of those positions is positive. 
MARK: So what happens to those students, not necessarily the students that you've had, 
but students working with somebody who doesn't have that focus? 
Ml: I've think that they're generally regarded not worth the time, so they get less quality 
time, possibly less time overall, and certainly not the quality of attention or feedback that 
a student having a little higher. . . or aiming for the prototypical research job may get. 
MARK: What is that? 

Ml: That's the whistle. Classes are over. It happens 20 after and 10 until. 
MARK: Every hour? 
Ml: Yeah. 

MARK: How come I only hear it about three times a day? 
Ml: I don't know. Where's your office? 
MARK: I'm down at Watkins. 

Ml: OK, so you won't hear it down the hill so much. It's a real trip to be next to it what 
goes off. 

MARK: Really! So, a student is feeling that he's valued . . . 
Ml: Yes, I think that's right. I should say that one of the things I have, I model for 
graduate training is a junior colleague model. It's different from an apprentice model, or a 
kingdom model. In a junior colleague model I accept them and I'm obligated to treat them 
as I would a junior colleague, and not a grad student, whatever that is . . . they're involved 
in as much ... I try to involve them in as many tasks as I can that I do so they can see 



127 
what it's like to do that, in the hope that eventually they'll deal to do it on their own, either 
here, so I can now actually delegate that level of work to them eventually, and also so 
that they I can, I guess, so they can do it wherever they end up. Within that model, the 
way I go about doing it is, I use a hierarchical lab set up where the most senior grad 
student is the one that I will often say, OK, so and so knows how to do this so go talk to 
them. So, depending on when you came, there's sort of an inherent hierarchy where the 
people who know the most are often the dispensers of information. The other issue is 
making sure that those relationships are OK — that's also something I was never trained to 
expect to have to do, or to do. You want to make sure that those relationships are OK, 
because when they're not it wreaks havoc. 
MARK: How do you go about doing that? 

Ml: When there are conflicts, and they're relatively rare, we treat them as problem 
solving sessions. We bring people in — not together — and say "what did so and so say?" 
Well, here's why so-and-so might have said that. Or, sometimes I'll get — it's important to 
get both sides of the story, and if I come to the decision that so-and-so's wrong, I'll just 
ask them and say, well, that shouldn't happen again. And they'll say that to the student, 
eventually. It's all got to be handled, in an interpersonally sensitive way; otherwise it all 
goes to hell. 

MARK: What about socialization experiences? Do you introduce them to valuable 
people . . . ? 

Ml: Yeah, I do to the extent that I can. I don't do it right now. For a while I put their 
names on ... I created a lab letterhead and I put all their names on the letterhead, so any 



128 
correspondence that went out people got to see their names. Not that they'd take notice of 
those names, but later on psychologist might say, "Where have I seen this name before." 
That might happen, so that was pretty intentional. But I do introduce them to colleagues 
and conferences, I make sure that they get . . . it is appropriate to make sure that they get 
to talk about what they're doing; I spread their names around when I can. 
MARK: What do they get out of it, psychologically? 
Ml: Well, obviously they're being . . . okay, psychologically . . . 

MARK: Again, I'm trying to get behind it, not just what you do, but why is a good thing. 
Ml: They're a member of . . . they belong to the discipline. It's an issue of belonging to 
the discipline. They're a part of the scientific community. Yes, they're a neophyte in the 
scientific community, but there are scientific communities, and it's important to belong. 
That's what that gesture means, aside from the networking and the recognition and so- 
and-so is so-and-so's student . . . that all gets processed, but I think it is really as you say 
a socialization experience. 

MARK: Do you think they get the same kind of thing from the structure, the informal 
structure in a lab's, where they have a hierarchy, a friendly hierarchy as you call it ... ? 
Ml: Yeah. I think that it's a community, on a smaller scale, of course but, yeah. 
MARK: You're developmental, and I'm not sure exactly what aspect . . . your focus 
seems to be on neuroscience, but if you had to ... if you were to pick a developmental 
model that might subsume mentoring, would you be able to . . . 

Ml: I think the developmental systems model that we use is a perfect metaphor. I hate to 
be somebody who's "I've got a hammer and everything is a nail," but . . . well, sometimes 



129 
(laughter) . . . but, it really does work. The way you do it with advanced students is, and 
the kind of input that you give them and the kind of feedback that you give them is very 
different than the kind of feedback you give a first-year. And there's sort of a middling 
phase which, to me, is the hardest, because you're always having to gauge what they 
know and don't know, and what's going to salient and what's going to stick and what's not 
going to stick. 

MARK: What would happen if you guessed wrong and expected from them something 
that they weren't able to give? 
Ml: Well, I have to scale back. 

MARK: What would happen to them, in terms of their . . . 
Ml: Oh. Well, it depends on who the student is, and if the student has fairly good 
metacognitive ability. Sometimes they're pretty upset that they'd let me down or they're 
feeling that they don't measure up. Some students are oblivious. . . none of them are when 
they finish, but some are oblivious on the way. They'll get it, they'll figure it out. 
MARK: Do you ever ... do you have any female graduate students? 
Ml: They're all females. I've had two male students, no, sorry, 3 male students. 
Psychology is increasingly becoming feminized, to the point where clinical psychology 
programs are being asked "what are you doing now to actively recruit men into the 
program?" I work in developmental, which has kids and babies, and it seems to naturally 
attract women to the study, and so I've had one male student who's gone on to a position, 
another student who's worked, who wasn't technically my student but I let them work in 
the lab and do his dissertation there — I basically guided his dissertation. He went off to 



130 
the school of education (garbled) chair. . . and currently I have another male student 
who's going to be finished . . . 

MARK: Actually, that's interesting, because I was going to ask a question about your 
dinners and Christmas evenings and social gatherings, if having female students was 
different from having male students. 

Ml: You know, I haven't . . . I've found male and female students to be equally sensitive, 
although in slightly different ways, in terms of how they take feedback and in terms of 
how they respond to things. I have a box of tissues always around, just in case. I just had 
a conversation today about students getting emotional, and is it that my experience that 
women will get more emotional than men under stress. But men are just a sensitive, they 
just show it in different ways, respond in different ways. If you're talking about 
relationships and that sort of thing, it's very safe for them. I'm married, I have two kids, 
and a dog. . . I have a very stable family life, so it's not an issue, not even close. 
MARK: Because it is actually, has been brought up in the literature . . . getting too close 
to female protegees 

Ml: Yeah, it's been brought up, there's a bunch of books on it, including exposes and 
what have you . . . 

MARK: So, you haven't had a problem with that? 
Ml: No . . . I'm old now (laughing) 
MARK: So, you have two kids? How old are they? 
Ml: Five and seven. 



131 
MARK: Actually, kids are why I got into psychology. My wife and I were foster parents 
for a longtime. My very first paper as a grad student was on developmental neuroscience. 
It still has some degree of fascination, although I haven't had much time to pursue it. 
Ml: Yeah, it's moving pretty fast. One thing I do notice that you do have to, initially, is 
kind of convince female students that they don't have to worry about that part of the 
relationship. When they come in, you can always see that there's a little bit of hesitancy 
in that, and that it's something that they're kind of thinking about, to protect themselves 

against After our first few meetings, it's not an issue anymore. But there is that. With 

men that's obviously not an issue. 

MARK: Are the students, generally, when you take them on, uncertain about what it's 
supposed to be like. 

Ml: Yeah, they're pretty clueless. Some of them . . . they're not sure how to act, and what 
can be like, so that's why it's important to present yourself as a real person, and . . . some 
of them I'm pretty . . . actually, none of my students are formal with me. Today I had a 
student switch over and say she wanted to work with me, and I said fine; she still calls me 
Dr. and whatever ... I hate that, but I won't instruct her to do otherwise until she feels 
comfortable doing that; it might be taken as a rebuke, or something like that. 
MARK: Do you think that you provide the atmosphere or safe base where they can . . . 
Ml: Yeah, I think that they always feel that they know where they stand with me, and in 
that . . . we're talking about successful students, because I have had unsuccessful students, 
I'm assuming that we'll get to those eventually to ... but I do think that they feel that I'm 
interested in them as a whole person, that they do feel safe with this as somebody who 



132 
can take care of a lot of different things. They tell me when. . . they tell me "I haven't been 
doing well lately, and here's why, Yeah, I know I haven't, I've been cut out of it lately, 
I've been struggling, I've really feel depressed lately about this or that." And so they seem 
to be fairly comfortable. I can't say all of them, but the sense I have is that they feel like 
they can tell me that kind of stuff. 



APPENDIX C 
SATISFIED PROTEGE (SP) INTERVIEW SAMPLE 

MARK: As my e-mails said, this is a dissertation project about mentoring, and obviously 

I got your name from Ml . What I'm doing is I'm trying to figure out what is good 

mentoring. Ml for example, received an award for mentoring. Why did Ml receive an 

award for mentoring? It's more basically at a psychological level; it's not how many times 

you meet, although that's a part of it. It's not real core stuff like that he may answer your 

questions. Why does meeting with him work? What is it about meeting with him? What 

are you getting out of it? What are you feeling? Why is that good for you? So, as we talk 

I think we'll probably just kind of beat around the bush about certain things, so that 

doesn't matter. ... So, basically, I'll start with the question; how would you define good 

mentoring? How would you define a mentoring relationship? 

SP3: hum. . . to define good mentoring. . . . 

MARK: And you don't have to get it right. 

SP3: Yeah. I was going to say, that's a tough one. 

MARK: This is exploratory. . . obviously I'm not trying to defend a hypothesis here; I'm 

trying to find out what people think, so don't even think about trying to get it right. Just 

whatever comes to mind, because as we talk for the next little while, more things will 

come to mind. 

SP3: Right. Well, I think probably. . . one, to be available is the most basic. . . to be able 

to be there, willing to met with you, and to talk about your interests. But beyond that is to 

133 



134 
be a motivator, to help you one way or another. . . to help you be excited about what 
you're working on. To help you see the benefit, or the momentum of what you're gaining 
as you're working on something. Benefit in the sense that they point out to you and help 
you see that you're actually contributing something, you're showing your. . . . You know, 
with [Ml], he got excited. [Ml] got excited when we would look at my data, and he 
would say, "Nobody else knows this! That's cool!" And that made an impression on me. 
It got me motivated to continue through the process rather than fading out, which 
happens to a lot of people. 

MARK: What is it about being excited that's motivating? Nobody else knows a piece of 
information, you know the piece of information, why is that important? 
SP3: 1 don't know. I just had somebody in here the other day, and we were going through 
some data, and we were supposed to go to lunch. It was 2:00 then, and I was kind of like, 
"we've been in here a long time, we better go to lunch." I just really love it; I love mining 
through the data. And so to have somebody else be excited about that, and to think you 
are actually contributing something new to. . . that, to me is. ... I don't know why, 
actually. . . . 

MARK: To have somebody else, is there, camaraderie? 

SP3: Yeah, I think that. I think also to be that guiding. . . . You know sometimes there are 
things there that you don't see, so to be willing to sit there with you and go through the 
information. I would come to [Ml] and say, "Hey look what I saw, and what I found, this 
is what I see in here," and that's kind of cool, and he would come from a completely 
angle, "well have you looked at this?" Rather than just tell me to go off and look at that, 



135 
he would say, "do you have your data with you?" And if I did, then he'd sit down and we 
would both sit there, and miss lunch, and play with the data. It was that kind of 
interaction, that at least for me, was a real Godsend. 

MARK: How did that make you feel, when you do that, you go through your data, and 
he says, lets look at it? 

SP3: It made me feel great! It was cool! It helped me feel like I was accomplishing 
things, like I was actually passing milestones or whatever. Which, I think it's hard to feel, 
especially going through a doctoral program, where keep getting more work and more 
work and more work. There are those milestones, but they're kind of far. . . few and far 
between. And so it helped me feel that I was progressing; that I was gaining something. I 
was learning, I was seeing. . . I could start to see that I was bringing better questions, and 
I was already anticipating what he was going to say. So the next time I came in and said, 
"Hey, look what I found, this is really cool," and he would say," Well did you do that, did 
you look at this?" and I would say, "Yeah, I did," and he would still have something else, 
but we could kind of. . . 

MARK: What does it feel like when you have anticipated? 
SP3: Again, I felt like I was accomplishing something. I felt like I could visibly see 
myself becoming more and more like a professor, like the level I wanted to be, the 
intellect level. 

MARK: So you are accomplishing something towards your own development? 
SP3: Yeah. 



136 
MARK: OK. Because I was wondering if you were thinking in terms of accomplishing 
something in society or something. . . . 

SP3: Nah (laughing). That's what I'm. . . ultimately, to disseminate that information, but 
no, I felt I was gaining for myself. 

MARK: You were learning, you were getting better, you were getting smarter, you were 
actually getting something out of it. 

SP3: Right, and could see that. Like I said, it just seems that the milestones are so few 
and far between. Sometimes it's really hard to feel that you're progressing or going 
anywhere. You're just kind of floating in this never ending "am I ever going to finish" 
battle, and yeah, I felt like that was something I could tangibly observe as being progress 
in myself. That I could move towards the goal that I wanted to, of finally getting my 
doctorate. 

MARK: Did you. . . when you had those situations where you predict ahead of time what 
he's going to say and you get it right, how does that make you feel? 

SP3: Again, that feels good. It felt like I was. . . like I knew that that was coming 

And just thinking ahead about. . . like with my writing, being able to try and anticipate 
what reviewers might come back with. That was kind of my thinking about that, was can 
I anticipate what to somebody else, who's a little more experienced in the field, what are 
they going to ask when I say x, z, y? What's the other piece that they're going ask about? 

To be able to anticipate that Again, for me. . . I didn't actually come in to this field, I 

don't know if anybody does, in any kind of normal sense, it was not like I always wanted 
to do this. I kind of stumbled into psychology, and stumbled into [Ml], too. So, for me I 



137 
was always looking to reaffirm I was in the right place. I was at originally an English 
major, and I was interested in starting in children's books as a genera of literature, and I 
just assumed somebody out there had done the research on what you should read to your 
kids. And, so, that was my senior year as an undergrad, and I started actually doing some 
research working with somebody in the English department. She said, "yeah, just go look 
that up and see what books are good, and that might be a good starting place for you." I 
didn't find any research, and really didn't find much about anybody really defining 
whether some books are better for kids or how do you define that? 
MARK: In terms of language acquisition, or were you at that stage yet? 
SP3: 1 wasn't at that stage quite yet. I had it in mind that one thing children were gaining 
from it was language. But I was also looking for anything about, you know. . . including 
images, whether or not some children seem to like. . . or whether you could classify it at 
all that way. I figured at least for a least from the language points of view, you weren't 
reading Moby Dick to three-year-old, they weren't that interested in. . . they prefer 
cartoons or what ever. So that was kind of my. . . so, I kind of suddenly changed gears 
into this other area. And I had kind of the plan of what I thought I might do in English, 
and psychology was a real change for me. So, the more I got into it, the more I kind of 
felt like I was in the right place. But I also was always looking for that affirmation of that, 
that this is the right place, and that also that I could. . . I had reservations whether or not I 
could handle a psychology program, especially coming from an English program, which 
was not very heavily science based. And so for me, it was affirming to myself that I could 
do this. When I would come into [Ml] and we would have one of those interactions, it 



138 
was affirming that I could do it, and it would help me to affirm that if I was excited about 
it, and having fun doing it that I was in the right place. And I think also, seeing that [Ml] 
was also excited about it, made me think that, maybe this is something that will never go 
away. Maybe the excited about it when I've been doing it for 20 years you know or 
whatever, like he has. 
MARK: So he was a good model for that? 

SP3: Yeah. I think that's one thing we definitely have in common. I mean, the one thing 
we both really like it is when you get the raw data and you can mine it, find out that thing 
that nobody else knows. Whatever a weird thing that is, it just has a certain appeal to it 
that both of us share. 

MARK: Do you feel that you like the idea of showing Ml that you did it, you wanted 
him to be proud? 

SP3: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I definitely have that kind of "second father figure" 
feeling about it. And it is equally devastating when he'd look at a first draft, and say, 
"No, this is really bad, this is really not it," and it was equally as devastating. So, it was. . 
. but I think I definitely have that same kind of sense, if he was saying good job, and I 
was feeling I was good, and I was happy with the approval. And if he was saying," no 
way," that was a bad couple of days." You know, "oh, man," and then pick it back up and 
do it over again. 

MARK: When he said, and possibly still does, when he says "No, this is not quite right," 
how does he do that? 



139 
SP3: Hummm. Actually, he says "No, that's not it." That's actually pretty close to it. 
[Ml] likes to see pretty much all of our documents; so, our comprehensives — and our 
orals is actually writing a review paper and handing that in — and the dissertation of 
course. And so we've done drafts of all of those pieces of work that he saw before we 
actually handed them in. And he goes through them, and marks them up, and he says, 
"No this isn't it yet." And sometimes it's "This section is pretty good and close, but this 
section. . . you've just got to rewrite the whole section. 
MARK: How come that doesn't blow your ego? 

SP3: Well, it depends on how bad the paper was, as to whether or not it did blow my ego 
out of the water (laughing). 

MARK: Well, you're still here, I mean you still like him, he's still your mentor. How is it 
he can tell you that you not doing it right and it's okay? 

SP3: 1 think, umm. . . it's hard for me to think about that as being something that [Ml] 
did, or something that I actually thrived under. I had, I actually have a couple days of not 
wanting to work on it, and its blah; but then I usually kind of have a fighter attitude about 
that. If he said that that section was really bad, you really need to rewrite that, I kind of 
have this, "I can show him" kind of attitude that comes out, where I will find a lot of 
effort to put into like, that one section to try to. . . . 

MARK: Show him, not in a negative sense, but show him I can do this, that I'm good 
enough to. . . the "good father" thing again. 

SP3: Yeah. It is kind of that again. And I do think it's always been seeking that kind of 
approval at some level. But also to show him that I can do it, that affirmation for me. One 



140 
of the things I've always struggled with is the changeover from writing as an English 
major, to writing in this technical manner. Which if you use an adjective. . . that's the first 
thing to go, in English, you're just going off, you know the creative writing, that was 
always my strong suit. And then to hit this was really tough for me, and it still is really 
tough for me to produce a document that stays within the bounds, and really doesn't 
sound like an English paper, as [Ml] would say. And that was definitely a part of the 

learning process. But I also think the criticism didn't get to me about I think being 

tough, you have a certain level of tough skin. Yeah, it's a bummer when don't get it right, 
but you have to figure out a way to get over that, then try again. When it's the third time, 
and it's still not right, that's when he gets to be hard. And I have to admit actually I didn't 
ever really find myself there very often; it was usually the third time, we were basically 
done at that point— and a couple times the third time was still not there. And I think that 
that also, just talking with other people, the fact that [Ml] would be willing to pass back 
and forth the draft three times, was something that, as I've talked with other people, they 
didn't have that. And that goes back to the first thing, about being there and being willing 
to give up that time for you. I think the tough skin. . . it didn't feel good, but it wasn't 
totally devastating. But I don't know if there was anything about what [Ml] did as 

compared to whether or not it was just that you had to 

MARK: And again, the idea that you could have an adviser — perhaps not you, but 
somebody else turns in a paper, and they say, No, this isn't good." And then you have 
[Ml] that turns back and says, "No, this is no good." On the one hand, it's okay. You get 
motivated and want to show him you can do it. Then the other person, for whatever 



141 
reason, hasn't got that relationship, and it's like, "Well, F you," or, "Oh, my god, I'm a 
failure." I mean, [Ml] won the award, what is [Ml] doing that's different? That's why it's 
hard to do this research, it's hard to find what it is that they're doing. ... So many people 
seem to know this guy's a good mentor, whereas the other guy's not. 
SP3: 1 think, and it goes back to that kind of level of excitement, at least for me it was 
about that [Ml] always. . . I always knew I had good stuff. I had a good story to tell. But 
what I knew also was that I wasn't always the best at telling it, according to this kind of 
critical, this empirical way of writing things out. What I always felt was, I always felt 
motivated because [Ml] always was very reinforcing; "You've got a good thing here to 
talk about." And the other thing was that was reinforced also by when we would go to 
conferences, people were really interested in what I was doing. And again, the whole 
time [Ml] would be there. And the fact that others are interested in what I was doing, and 
I could talk with them and have good conversation about things, and the fact that [Ml] 
was excited to be there for those conversations as well. And again, that was also the circle 
of approval other peers that are out there, as well as the approval of [Ml] seeing that what 
I was doing actually was. . . for him it was probably what he already knew, but for me, it 
was like, "Yeah, you're right, this is important stuff. This is good stuff." 
MARK: So he always invested energy and interest in what you were up to. . . . 
SP3: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think the other thing that [Ml]. . . at least for me for sure, we 
always had a good. . . we always had kind of a separate relationship, as far as. . . there 
was the relationship where we were working on something, and then there was a separate 
relationship which was much more familiar and friend-like in a way that [Ml] always 



142 
treated me more like a peer than like a student. So, it was always much more in that kind 
of sense, as far as, I worked in a lab for 5 years for him. And so there were kind of two 
levels there, as far as running and working in his lab, and it was much more about peer- 
type interaction, and a friend-type interaction. I think we had a pretty good relationship in 
that sense. We both knew that we could, when he had to be able to say to me, "This paper 
is not it, and you've got to go back and do more serious work on it," and that would be a 
little upsetting to me, and kind of bum me out a bit for couple of days. It didn't have 
anything to do with, it wasn't ever like, "F you," about it or whenever. I knew he was 
giving his honest opinion about what I had done, and it wasn't ever that I thought he was 
ever being mean about it or anything. It was a strictly that. . . I fully believed when he 
said I had to go back and do more work on this, that I really needed to go back and do 
more work on this. However much I didn't want to, or really just wanted to try to "hand it 
in and see if it passes, because I'm tired of writing on this thing," you know that kind of 
feeling? I think that [Ml] and I, we had a period where I was the only one in the lab. We 
had a funding period, and then a year off, and then a funding period, and I came in on a 
year off, and we hired other staff around there. And during that time it was just him and I, 
and I think that's where we developed a pretty good relationship, and this kind of this 
dichotomy between, more of a personal level, and then the work level. I mean, it never 
felt like we didn't smoothly move between those, even when we were having it out. And 
the farther I got along, the more willing I was to argue about why I thought what I was 
doing was okay to hand in, and to really talk that through. And you know, were both a 
little stubborn, but again we can have a pretty heated talk about a paper, and try to discuss 



143 
why I didn't think that. I don't ever think that it was. . . again, it was still separate in some 
kind of strange way. And that I knew then if later on in the lab. . . we used to actually go 
for drinks on Friday a lot of the time, afterwards, and so if that happened on Thursday or 
even Friday, by the time Friday at 4:00 came, if we were going to go out, and just sit, it 
was completely different. And I guess the other thing was, I never thought that [Ml] was 
being mean, I always thought that he was giving me, as he saw it. . . I didn't always see 
his, always agree; but in the same token, I always felt that what he said was probably 
best, and made the most. . . and made sense. It wasn't that it didn't make sense, ever, it 
wasn't ever that he suggested something that I really thought, "that doesn't. . . ," and I 
have to admit, there's been other people, what their advisers told them, and thought, 
"that doesn't sound right." With [Ml], I always thought that he was giving good advice. 
And that might be another piece of being a good mentor — he was always providing me 
with good information. 

MARK: How does it feel to have a mentor that you believe in that way, giving you good 
advice? What does that get you? 

SP3: 1 think it gets you to a certain level that you can relax about that, that you don't have 
to worry about whether or not you have to kind of double check the information. What I 
came to was, what I found was. . . actually, [Ml] was in the human development 
department. He was the graduate curriculum adviser, so if you were a grad student, he 
was kind of where the buck stopped, before you had to go up the hill. What I found was 
that a lot of the time, friends of mine would get something from their adviser, and they 
weren't real sure about it, so they would end up having to go to [Ml] to find out if. . . and 



144 
they would have to do it in some way where they really weren't getting their adviser in 
trouble with the department, and to try and find out, "Is that really the way I'm supposed 
to do this?" I always felt with [Ml] that I never worried about that. It was always, what 
he, as far as logistics of things, I always knew he knew his stuff, and that that was not a 
problem. Of course, with his position, he knew his stuff. And then it was to know, that 
who he was, as far as a respected researcher in the field, who had been doing this for a 
long time, and had been showing his peers that he could do this, and is still being active 
in his research so he could be a part of that. When you weren't with somebody at the 
beginning or the end. . . again, from seeing other people, it can wear on you; it can be a 
different tale if you're with somebody who's just beginning and doesn't know how to 
handle the students, who doesn't know that basic information. It was a piece that you 
didn't have to worry about. And so, for me it was, like I said, it was just nice, to not have 
to have something else to be thinking about, or to worry about whether or not I had to go 
double check what my adviser was saying. 



APPENDIX D 
DISSATISFIED PROTEGE (DP) INTERVIEW SAMPLE 



MARK: What does it feel like when you are with the mentor who provides positive 
feedback, for instance for your writing, and virtually no positive reinforcement for your 
other activities, like your family? What does that make you feel like? 
DP l:Well it's ah. . . not very good for building a relationship with a mentor. I don't feel 
like I've had a good relationship with my mentor outside of academics and professional 
life, and whether that's important or not I don't know. I think . . . I'm not sure how it 
made me feel — it was kind of an empty feeling. It made for a sterile relationship. I guess 
maybe that's one way to put it. But I can't really pinpoint exactly how it would make me 
feel when he would do that. Part of it was because I really wanted to get through the 
program, so I kind of started to see him as just "that person," the person who got me 
through the program, and that was his goal. I guess it wasn't really necessarily a bad 
feeling or anything, it was just that I don't think we had that kind of relationship that I've 
seen some people have with their mentors. 

MARK: You said that you started to feel that way; you started to put him in that role. 
But at the beginning what were your expectations? 

DP 1: Well, from seeing other graduate students, and with some of the relationships that I 
had with some of my professor in undergrad, actually, I kind of expected more of a 
combination of the professional and personal relationships. I didn't necessarily get that. 



145 



146 
I mean, I still got my degree in a reasonable amount of time, but since I've graduated we 
don't talk that much. We don't even e-mail much at all. . . 
MARK: Did you ever feel like a colleague? 

DP 1: That's a good question. Sometimes I did, and sometimes I didn't, (long pause). 
Yeah, when I was doing things that were not only getting me through the program, but 
were also going to help him out with his, in his professional life, I did. I felt like a 
colleague. And I don't know if that was because we tended to work more together and it 
was that kind of relationship. 

MARK: Were you getting better feedback when you were serving his needs as well? 
DP 1: Oh, yeah. Oh, yaeh, definitely! 

MARK: So if you were doing your own project and he wasn't interested in it. . . 
DP 1: Yeah, and I don't know if it was because I realized that at the beginning, and so I 
didn't really seek his feedback on things that weren't really involved with him. Because I 
didn't. If I was working on a paper that didn't have to do with his area, then a lot of 
times I wouldn't even show it to him, I would just go to someone else. 
MARK: I am curious. . . you obviously have some individual in mind when you use the 
word mentor. Why do you use the word mentor about that individual? 
DP 1: Well, I think he did. I think he did; I think he mentored me in a specific area, and 
there was defiantly, I think, some mentoring going on there. And I learned a lot from 
him; And plus, that was his job, and so you know that's part of it too. He was my main 
advisor, and stayed that way through out my entire graduate school. Yeah, he did some 
mentoring, but then it was also the fact that was the label that he had. 



147 
MARK: Would you have given it to him if that weren't the label? 
DP 1 : Yeah, I would say he was a mentor. 
MARK: So, what kind of things did he teach you? 

DP 1 : He taught me how to write, he definitely taught me how to write a whole lot better. 
He taught me how to do research; a particular type of research, (long pause) There's a 
lot of things with in those two areas, but those are the two big things — the writing, I can 
defiantly give him big kudos for that. Because he did do a good job on that. 
MARK: What kinds of things didn't he do that you would have liked to see? 
DP 1: The biggest thing that he didn't do, I felt. . . I don't think he was a good model for 
what an academic researcher should be. I don't know if it's an individual thing, or if it's 
because of the way the system is set up. . .he's got tenure, he teaches a huge 
undergraduate class, and that's his job in the department. There's really no contingency 
on him to go out and get funding to do new research and to write more and to do things. 
So, I didn't see a person who was an active researcher, an active writer. You know, when 
I was there, the major studies that he did were the things that I was doing. He might have 
done one other one, but that was pretty much it. Again, I don't know if that was because 
of him or if it was the system setup, so once you get tenured you pretty much have to kill 
someone to get fired. . . . 

MARK: Do you think he really wasn't carrying his load. . . taking advantage of it. . . ? 
DP 1: Yeah. Yeah, I would say so. Yeah. Especially when I first got here. When I first 
got here it was much worse than it is now. For some reason. . . I don't know if some one 
lit a fire under him or what, but the past few years he's been a little more proactive in 



148 
getting his own research going. I am in a post-doctoral program now and the mentor that 
I have there is pretty much the opposite. He is always writing grants, always doing new 
research — so really completely different professionally in that way. So, I think I didn't 
see through my graduate carrier what I think would be a good model of what an academic 
researcher should be. 

MARK: Did he promote you in the field? Did he introduce you to other people? Did he 
take you to conferences? 

DP 1: No. No. I would sign myself up for conferences. No, Yeah, No he did not do that. I 
think again it was because he was not really active in the field, and he didn't really have 
much of an opportunity to promote me, to give me connections to other people. And so I 
would go with other of his colleagues and get that. Yeah, he didn't do any of that. 
MARK: If you took away the writing and the research, what did he do for you? 
DP 1 :(pause) Well, he taught me how to get through the program. You have to do 
specific things, obviously, in every graduate program, and a lot of people. . . it's a very 
self-motivating thing. You have to. . . there are certain dates that you have to do certain 
things, and it's somewhat unstructured. So, a lot of people have trouble with that, and I 
think he was really good and ah. . . and you know, showing me first of all, pointing that 
out to me and helping me get through that and doing the things I needed to do to get 
through the program. So, yeah, and you know, I said that, he helped me get through the 
program. 
MARK: What did he do for you personally? Like as a person? 



149 
DP 1: Uh (pause) Nothing. Yeah, there was no personal. . . I mean we would tell jokes 
and stuff. But he and I, I think were different people too. Yeah, we're different people. I 
mean. . . you know, we went out a couple of times and we had a couple of drinks or 
something, you know. He's just a different person. He's been married a few times, 
(laughs) So, you know. . . and maybe that's part of the family thing. . . having bad 
experiences with that. No, there really wasn't anything personal. 
MARK: What do you think about that? That he didn't do anything for you personally? 
DP 1: Again, you know, I didn't come here to get a personal relationship with a facility 
member at KU, that wasn't one of my goals. It would be nice, and like I said, I've seen it 
in other graduate students, having personal relationships with other facility. So I got it in 
other places, so I ... .it would have been nice, but the fact that I didn't get it. . . (long 
pause) ... it wasn't devastating. I don't necessarily. . . I don't find that to be as big as a 
problem as the fact that I don't think that he was a good model for what I think a 
professor should be doing. 

MARK: You said that if you had a paper that wasn't really in his area you never even 
took it to him. Why is that? Where do you learn that that was a wasted effort? 
DP 1: Because he would question why I was even writing this, and why I was spending 

my time doing that. Rather than go through all that business 

MARK: So the first time you did that, I don't know if you can remember the first time 
you did that, you go to him wit the paper, and you have some level of excitement because 
you have this paper and you want so feedback from your mentor. You take in a paper 
and he says, "Why are you wasting your time on this?" How does that make you feel? 



150 
DP 1: Yeah, that hurts. That would hurt. Yeah, because. . . that's . . . you know. . . he 
obviously had a reason for doing that, and he would question it and you know. . . I would 
have a good dialogue about this, but it turned out just. . . I learned eventually that it 
really was just. . . because it wasn't really his area, and you know he would say that 
because "this isn't going to help you get through the program" and you know "thjis isn't 
going to get you to your goal. But, you know, I obviously have other goals other than 
getting through the program; I wanted to develop professionally. So yeah, that hurt. 
Because it would be nice to have someone who could be involved in all of that. If it was 
me, I think I probably would have. . . I probably would have just told. . . if I had a 
student, I would have just said, "Maybe you ought to go talk to so and so because this is 
his area. You know this is just great but I'm not familiar with it. So you might want to 
take it to somebody else". But rather than doing that he would just insinuate that it was 
kind of a waste of my time and I should be working on other things. 
MARK: Did that impact your image of yourself as a competent researcher? Make you 
wonder if you picked the right program? 

DP 1: (pause) I know it didn't in the later parts; I am trying to think in the early parts, 
when he first was doing that. ... I think I probably did initially. Yeah, yeah, I did 
initially and then ... but then when I would figure out, "Well let me try with someone 
else." You know give the paper to someone else or discuss the research with someone 
else. Then eventually I just realized, it was just his own little personal hang-up and I just 
changed my behavior, and well this paper will not go to [mentor], it will go to somebody 
else. 



151 
MARK: So this guy was your chair, I'm assuming, your dissertation chair? 
DPI: Yeah, yeah.. 

MARK: And probably your master chair. Was there somebody else in particular that 
you went to most of the time for those kinds of emotional things? 
DPI: To talk about that? 

MARK: Not necessarily to talk about him. . . I mean. . . you're married? 
DP 1: Right. 

MARK: So your probably getting a lot of emotional support at home. I'm making an 
assumption here. 
DP 1: Yeah, you're right. 

MARK: Was there somebody else in the department or somebody else around that you 
would go to get some professional emotional support. 

DP 1 :The students. Yeah, yeah. . . not necessarily other facility; I wasn't comfortable 
talking about that with other facility. I know some people do, and. . . no, I never did it 
with other facility. But other students, yeah. . . yeah definitely, I'd talk to them about 
that. 

MARK: About him? 
DPI: About. ..Yeah. 

MARK: What about feelings of confidence? What about the idea that somebody on the 
inside thinks that you're OK? 
DP 1: About confidence. . . ? 



152 
MARK: There's a lot of things that can go on in a relationship, and in the standard 
conceptual relation in a mentor relationship. . . you get not just the professional but the 
personal, emotional support that you've been alluding to. I'm just wondering if there was 
somebody else in the program that was giving you that support? 
DPl:Uh, ah, no 

MARK: Because your peers of course can give you some support but they can't give you 
that kind of. . . 

DP 1: Yeah. . . Yeah. . . Yeah. . . there was a couple of facility. . . again, I wouldn't go to 
them and say, "He's doing this." It would just, yeah. . . well, yeah, it was the whole, "I'm 
not going to get the feedback or encouragement from you, so I'll go to one of these other 
people." And yeah. . . I'd defiantly do that. 
MARK: Can I ask how old you are? 
DP 1:1 am 32. 

MARK: So you're a little non traditional. 
DPI: Yeah 

MARK: And you have a pretty stable home environment. Because one of the things I 
am seeing in you is that you have a lot of emotional resilience to start with, like you came 
in. . . probably more mature than your average 22-year-old master's student. I'm 
wondering, what you think would happen if some neophyte young person came in and 
met this guy? 

DP 1: Well, I've seen a lot of them and I think I'm the only one who's made it out 
through him. No, I'm the second person who has made it out through him, with a PHD. 



153 
He's got a person who will be finished with their masters in a couple of weeks, who had 
some real problems. Yeah, I've seen a lot of students come and go within my ten year 
commitment. . . yeah, they just couldn't handle it. Yeah, it's always an individual thing. It 
may be the lack of a personal relationship; they've all been female except for one male. 
MARK: Now is your program a PHD program or Master's or a terminal Master's. 
DP 1: There is a terminal master's, and this one person is the only one that I have seen 
come through him, yeah, who ended on their master's. 
MARK: Do you think that was their intent? 
DP 1: No, that wasn't their intent. 

MARK: Do you think that their decision was related to him? I don't how well you know 
the person. 

DP 1 :1 know her very well. To some degree, yeah. I'm not real sure that she would have 
gone on with somebody else. It's hard to tell, because there are other things, too; that 
was defiantly a factor in there. Whether or not taking that factor out she would have gone 
on, I can't say for sure. 

MARK: Because you obviously were able to find the resources, and have the emotional 
foundation that you didn't need. . . 

DP 1: 1 think that finding other people. . . and a lot of those people. . . what happened is. . 
. I say a lot. . . one of the people who didn't make it actually went to another mentor and 
she did end up finishing. So, she just completely pulled herself away from him and went 
with someone else and did finish. The other people just didn't. . . didn't find anybody 
else. I don't know if the personal part of it made a difference there or not. 



154 
MARK: So, what does it mean to somebody, or to you, when somebody in that position 
of mentor or as a facility member gives you positive feedback on something that you're 
doing. What does that give you at a real fundamental level? 

DP 1: 1 think it helps build that collegial relationship. . . I feel more of a colleague when 
I'm writing with a mentor, or some other facility and I get positive feedback. I mean, 
obviously it makes me feel good. It gives me a very good feeling about my competency 
as a writer and a researcher. I think it is very important, and I think some people are 
much better at it than others. You know its interesting, as far as the writing, I think my 
mentor. . . and I'm not so sure that this was a bad way to do it, but, when I think about it, 
how he went about giving me feedback on my writing; in the beginning he was giving me 
a lot of positive feedback and really trying to shape my writing, and giving me corrective 
feedback too. But as it went on it was just less and less. Just less feedback period. And I 
always wondered if my writing had gotten better or. . . because he wasn't giving the 
positive feedback either. So I don't know if he just felt like I didn't need it anymore, or if 
it was . . . 

MARK: Did you ever ask him? 
DP l:No (chuckles) 
MARK: Why not? 

DP 1: That's a good question. I think it was probably because of that relationship. I felt 
like that might be kind of going over that boundary that may have led to a lot of people 
not making it through with him. I think he is a very insecure person, and so when you 
call him on things he has a tendency to sometimes be really OK with it, and sometimes 



155 
really have a very adverse reaction. I just thought. . . well, you know, things are going 
OK (laughing) there's no reason to rock the boat. So I just went on, and I never asked 
him about that 

MARK: Would it have been unsafe? 
DP 1: No. . . you mean. . . like. . . 
MARK: Emotionally? 
DP 1: Emotionally ... for me or for him? 
MARK: For you. 

DP 1 : Yeah, it could have been. . . . (long pause) Yeah, it could have been, because. . . 
again I've seen other people go down that path with him ,and it always turned out bad. . . 
for the person. And since he has tenure and you can complain to the department chair all 
you want. . . and threaten legal issues and everything. . . he's got tenure. . . . 
MARK: Did anybody ever do that, that you know of? 
DP l:You mean bring up. . . 

MARK: Go to the dean? Go to the chair? Threaten issues? 
DPI: Oh, absolutely. 
MARK: About his treatment of them? 
DPI: Yeah, yeah 

MARK: So are you just being incredibly polite about this guy? 
DP l:You know, I have asked myself that a lot and people have asked me that because 
you know. . . the people that I know who had him in their life said, "Man, how did you 
make it through with him?" And you know, that's one way to look at it. . . but I was just 



156 
really nice with him (chuckling). I think, again, I just really wanted to get through the 
program, and I knew that if I did these things, I was going to get through it with him. . . 
And one of the other things is that he's one of the only people in the department who has 
similar interests with me. There are other people who have. . . who are interested in the 
things that we do, but that's not their main area of research. So, I could go to those 
people and talk to them, but as far as a main advisor, it pretty much had to be him. And 
so, that could have contributed to that, because I think I did probably put up with things a 
little bit more than other people did. 

MARK: Cause you sound really relaxed now, and I'm wondering, are you kind of 
indifferent? I mean, have you reached the point. . . did you reach the point where it's like 
"What Ever!" 

DP 1: Yeah. I think that's a good way to look at it. Yeah, I did. I can't pin point exactly 
when that was. I think once I found myself getting through the program and doing things 
and then little things would come up. . . you know, I would get the kind of feedback I was 
telling you about; "What are you writing this for? Why are you doing this research?" And 
I just decided I just didn't need to step over that boundary, so I didn't. So, I'd just go to 
someone else and find another avenue. By the end an indifference was probably a good 
way to put it because I really. . . the last couple of years I probably wasn't learning a 
whole lot from him. Once he taught me the writing which he did an excellent job of. . . 
(garbled) how to conduct his type of research, it was pretty much just, "We do this, we do 
that, we do this, then I'm done." 





APPENDIX E 






EXAMPLE OF OPEN CODING 






Mark: So I guess the opening question is typically, how do 








you define a good mentoring relationship? 








SP2: Well, I guess it's different for different fields. You 








know science, where you're doing research, there's a lot of 








information that you have to develop with experimental 








designs and stuff like that. And I think that part of a good 








mentoring relationship is kind of a back and forth with some 


Interactive relationship about 
field. 




• 


of that information. The ability to ask questions, and get 








answers of course, and also kind of a little bit of freedom in 


Ask and actually get answers. 






developing your own hypothesis as a student, and 


Freedom w/guidance, support. 






developing the experimental design to go on with that, 


Practice, growth, developing 






because that is really what's going to help you in the job 


autonomy-increasing trust. 
Preparation. 






world. But also, I think, and this is just me, you kind of 








need to have a relationship that's not strictly science based; 








you know, a little bit of a personal interaction. Knowing 


Personal relationship. 






what's going on with each other, and be able to talk a little 


Time. Affirmation of value. 






bit besides what's going on in the lab and what experiments 


Able to talk beyond advising. 
Research is not person. 






are being done and things like that. 






157 







158 



Mark: So lets imagine you're sitting with somebody and 
you're talking. You're the protege and they're the mentor. 
You have a need for some information. This is what you're 
looking at; this is what you don't under stand. "Tell me 
what I need to know?" And they tell you what you need to 
know. Of course, you can get straight information from 
them, you can get an answer. 
SP2: Yeah, that's not strictly what I'm talking about 
though. Really, kind of more a pointing in the right 
direction. If there's just some small item, or some tiny little 
thing that you don't understand, then you can come to short 
answers; that's the best way to go and not waste a whole 
bunch of time digging through all the literature, looking for 
some tiny aspect. But if it's a general concept, you really do 
need to develop that yourself. And maybe take that to your 
mentor, as "This is what I understand, tell me if you think 
its right, or if you think maybe I'm missing something." 
Mark: So you don't want to be told the answer typically. 
SP2: No, no absolutely not. I don't want to be told the 
answer. I don't want to be told what to do. I want to have 
some freedom and ability to develop my own 
understanding. 



Guidance, not directive. 
Point, not carry. 

M not obsessed w/irrelevant 
detail. M not cover 
ignorance? 

Learn diff. b/n learning and 
wasting time. 

Learn to learn important stuff. 
Safe place to be wrong. 
Trust, respect M's knowledge, 
skills, responsiveness. 
Wants M to know P can do it? 
Desire to learn, not just pass. 
Wants freedom and guidance. 



159 



Mark: Why is that? 

SP2: Because that's what you have to do in the real world. 

And that's probably what interests me. . . is the ability to 

develop, and you know, stick through, and all of a sudden 

that moment when it becomes clear is a lot of fun, and it's 

very interesting. I don't want someone just drawing me a 

picture and telling me, "This is what happens, just memorize 

it." 

Mark: So, what I'm trying to find out is why that works for 

you? Why does it work for you, not to be told the answer? 

What is it that you're getting? So you're saying its more 

exciting to get the answer yourself? 

SP2: Yeah, it's more exciting. And its more applicable, 

because if I go out and get a job, then I'm not going to have 

someone I can go to. . . I shouldn't have someone there I 

can go to. . . at the PhD level, I shouldn't have someone I 

can just go to and say, "what is the answer to this?" That's 

part of what science is about, finding the answer. It's not 

just finding answers that no on has found before, but 

understanding and finding some of the answers in the 

literature, and doing your own reading. 

Mark: Do you think that all proteges think in the same way 



Develop, grow, learn on own. 

Preparation, relevant to goals. 

Likes learning, winning 

against own ignorance. 

Growth. Discovery is reward. 

Fun. 

Respect her abilities. 

Teach her, don't tell her. 



Discovery, overcoming is 
rewarding. It also prepares for 
goals. Relevant growth. 
Wants to become a real PhD. 
Belonging. 

Wants to participate in real 
science — not about fame, but 
understanding, discovery, 
overcoming, work. To be a 
scientist. To Belong. 







160 




as you? 








SP2: Well, I don't know about all, I would hope so. 








Mark: In your experience? 


These things SHOULD be 






SP2: In my experience, yes. I would hope so. It's 


universal. 






important to have a little bit of free thought. Free thought, 


Free to explore ideas. Safe. 






and different ideas, and different experiences, kind of what 


Belonging. Growth. 






helps make the field progress. If everybody's thinking the 


Experiences. 






same thing, or if you're not going to have any more ideas 


Going beyond what's gone 
before. Master, then 






then what your mentor has, then you're not really pushing 


transcend. 






the envelope at all, you're just kind of following along. 


Independence, autonomy. 






Mark: So how does [your mentor] do that? 


Ability, desire to surpass M. 






SP2: Well, my experience with her has been that, I knew a 


Respect; want it, give it. 






lot about the Alzheimer's disease field coming in. I didn't 


Confidence in own abilities. 






know quite as much about the neurochemistry, and 


Goals. 






anatomy, but I got that in classes and things. She really has 


Don't need to have 






let me come up with my own experiments to do. In the 


everything. 






beginning of course I was just learning techniques and 


Don't need M for basic 






basically doing experiments that were assigned, and then 


knowledge. Freedom equals 
respect. First learn basics, 






after a while, after I got a little bit more involved, she really 


then get autonomy and 






let me kind of take things in my own direction. From doing 


respect. 






my own reading in the literature, and what I understood 


Stages; skills development. 






about Alzheimer's disease and other things, I've been able 


Respect of her ability. Show 













161 






to develop my own set of experiments and my own 


M ability. M reciprocates 






hypotheses, and kind of my own little project, which has 


w/freedom. Use the freedom. 






been very helpful, cause it also allows me to do the kind of 


Safe to explore own ideas. 
Self-development. 






thinking to understand, that "Okay, I need to have some 


Practice thinking. 






controls for this aspect of it," or "Does this experiment 


Growth in skills, confidence. 






really answer the question that I want to answer?" And 


Autonomy, can do the do. 






that's what you have to do in the real world, and that's one 


Internalized research values. 






of the most interesting aspects of doing scientific research. 


Progress towards goals. 
Preparation, fun. 






Mark: You alluded to how it was different at the 








beginning. 








SP2: Well, when I first came into the lab, I had no 








experience doing any kind of techniques, and that's kind of 


Neophyte, novice. 






what I was learning when I first came in. She would say, 


Phases. 

Guidance. Developmentally 






"Okay, this experiment, we need to have this project run, 


appropriate. M assessed 






and because you need to learn how to do this experiment, do 


skills, needs. Use the word 






this technique basically, why don't you do this?" Even 


"we"-collective, not ego. 






then, it wasn't, like, you know, very strict, as far as, exactly, 


Not command language 






you know. . . I still had to understand enough about it to say, 


Guidance with freedom. 
Positive expectations, rope. 






"Well I need to control for this, and I need to test for this 








and this." But it was. . . basically, when I first got into the 








lab for the first couple of months, I was just trying to learn 


Start at the bottom. Work 






the techniques, and so I was working with some of the other 



















162 






people in the lab on some of their own stuff, but, you know, 


Peer mentors, trainers. 






you can't just jump in there and know how to do everything. 








Mark: Did you make any mistakes? 








SP2: Of course. 








Mark: And how was that? 








SP2: Oh it was fine, I mean, she understands that you. . .of 


Completely not threatened 






course this is a training period, even now. I've made 


Secure, confident. 






mistakes, or not controlled the data for something, and when 


M understands, vs. tolerates, 






I present the data to her she mentions that, so the next time I 


errors, ignorance. 






do the experiment I realize that I need to do that. But it's 








not that. . . she doesn't go rooting for it. She's really 


Mentions, points out - not 






relaxed about it, and about a lot of things. 


points finger. 






Mark: What did that, what does that get for you? When 


Doesn't look for things to 
attack, ways to lord over 






you're in a situation, and you make a mistake and she's 


prot6ge\ 






okay with it, she doesn't . . . 








SP2: Well, I mean, of course it makes me more willing to 


Safe base. Self-comfort. No 






admit that I made a mistake. And also, it's not so much 


need to evade or avoid M. 






pressure. I know some mentors who are a lot more ridged 


Lower stress, focus on work. 






about that, and they do expect you to know, every time, 


Fear of M, afraid to tell M 






exactly everything that needs to be done. And you know, 


when make mistake. Afraid to 






you're going to have people in the lab who are going to be 


try anything for fear of error 






scared when you do that. And I think it makes it easier for 


and punishment. 















163 






me to just go ahead and do something, than to worry about 


Can focus on work rather than 






if everything is exactly right. I do make an effort to include 


possible judgment - safe, 






everything I understand, based on my own knowledge, to do 


secure. Desire to do well is 
internally driven, not a desire 






everything correctly. But if it's not correct, I don't feel like 


to avoid external aversiveness. 






I have to fear anything. 








Mark: You feel comfortable coming up with, doing more 








risky type things, a more far out hypothesis? 








SP2: Oh absolutely. I don't know if you know how we do 


Safe. 






our oral examinations. . . ? 








Mark: She told me, yes. 








SP2: We do a lot of proposals, so I just wrote my grant 








proposal, and it's kind of out there. They're going to let me 


Can take risks, safe. Can 






do it. Its not so far out there, I guess, that it's unreasonable. 


explore ideas. 

Safe to be different, push the 








envelope. M supports in 








committee? - note use of 








"they're." 




The foregoing is a rough example of the first iteration of an open coding process. The 


actual process was carried out with pencil on an original transcript. The second iteration 


was carried out when concepts were further reduced and transferred to note cards. 





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The Free Press. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 

Mark Brechtel was born in 1957 in Calgary, Canada. His father was a senior 
executive in the oil industry and later an independent consultant. His mother, who began 
as a schoolteacher, has been an exemplary mother, wife, and homemaker. He is the 
youngest of four siblings, having two brothers and one sister. 

Mark finished grade 9 before becoming disenchanted with school and decided to 
pursue other interests as a teenager. He obtained employment in the budding electronics 
industry, worked as an electronics and computer technician, and later as a manager in a 
computer company for approximately 15 years. For 8 years, he and his second wife, 
Brenda, were therapeutic/medical foster parents, helping to raise 30 children, including 
two daughters from his previous marriage and one daughter from her previous marriage. 

In 1993, Mark again became disenchanted and returned to school. He received a 
national award for the highest scores on the GED and entered the University of Colorado. 
With a GPA of 4.0, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, with a minor in 
philosophy. He was subsequently awarded the J. Hillis Miller Presidential Fellowship and 
later a McLaughlin Dissertation Fellowship by the University of Florida. He is presently 
completing an APA accredited doctoral internship at the University of Kansas 
Counseling Center and has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of 
Georgia Counseling Center. 

Mark does not yet know what he wants to be when he grows up, nor has he any 
immediate plans to do so. 

172 



I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree Doctor of Philosophy. 




I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree Doctor of Philosophy^ 




Gregory J. Neimeyer 
Professor of Psychology 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree Doctor of Philosophy. 




"David 1. Suchmarf 
Professor of Psychology 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to 
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree Doctor of Philosophy. 




Kenneth J 
Professor 
Disorders 



rhardt 

ommunication Sciences and 



This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of 
Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and 
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of 
Philosophy. 



August, 2003 



Dean, Graduate School 



i.0 

fifb 






UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 



3 1262 08557 2088